(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The life and times of Sir William Johnson, bart."

Etbrarg 
Utttwrattjj of |ltttglmrgly 

Darlington Memorial Library 

(Ulaaa C.M.. „ - 

Hack ilZLSA 

v. / 

" F 
k 5!._ 

Ski 



M^ 



Sfr* 






P'£r 



S^l 



Jfl 



*vv 






Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of Pittsburgh Library System 



http://www.archive.org/details/lifetimesofsirwi01inston 





UJilllHlHIll 

1 }' ri >y//s//// Johnson B<n J 

in .\ 

m 



"i Nsrth America 






THE 



LIFE AND TIMES 



SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART., 



Ac 



WILLIAM L. STONE. 

/ 1 i (iQ* 



*,*r- 



VOL. I. 




ALBANY : 

J. MUNSELL, 78 STATE STREET 

1865. 



r . 



a? 



~2~ 



"3 o fr 



Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1864, 
By William L. Stone, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the 
Southern District of New York. 



vl> 



TO 



THE MEMORY 



LATE WILLIAM L. STONE, ESQ. 



NEW YORK CITY, 



THIS WORK IS AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED, BY HIS SON, 



THE AUTHOR. 






PREFACE 



It may not be generally known that my father, the 
late William L. Stone, Esq., commenced a history of 
the Life and Times of Sir William Johnson, Bart. 
He had employed several years in collecting the ma- 
terials for this work, and had written the first seven 
chapters of it, when death cut short his labors in 1844. 
Esteeming it a sacred duty, I have completed the 
work ; and in so doing, have endeavored to carry out, 
as far as possible, his original design. The result is 
before the reader. 

Perhaps the character of no man prominent in our 
colonial history has been less understood, and less 
fairly judged, than that of Sir William Johnson, Bart. 
His death occurred just on the eve of the Revolution- 
ary war ; and the troublous times which followed, and 
the immediate removal of his private papers, by his 
son, Sir John Johnson, into Canada, prevented any 
trustworthy estimate either of the man or of his ser- 
vices. As a natural consequence, the innumerable 
wild and improbable traditions afloat concerning him, 
have been eagerly seized and believed as veritable 
history. It was therefore evident, that until access 
wuld be had to his papers and private correspondence, 



VI PllEFACE. 



it would be impossible to prepare a faithful and accu- 
rate biography of him. After years of search, mv 
father procured from the Johnson family in Eng- 
land, and from various other sources, a large portion 
of Sir William's manuscripts, which, with the collec- 
tion of the Johnson MSS. presented to the New York 
State Library by General John Tayler Cooper, amounts 
to more than seven thousand letters and documents. 
Although many letters are evidently lost, yet enough 
remain to answer the purpose of the present work ; 
while the original records of Indian treaties and con- 
ferences, of which nearly all are in existence, afford a 
sure test of the accuracy of their relation. 

Of this large collection, I have read and carefully 
compared each letter and document ; and throughout 
the work have made abundant reference to authorities, 
in order that whoever desires may avail himself of the 
same sources of information. 

To Hon. Jared Sparks of Cambridge, Hon. George 
Bancroft of New York, Francis Parkman, Esq., of 
Boston, Professor Robinson P. Dunn of Brown Univer- 
sity, and Edward F. De Lancey, Esq., of New York, I 
am indebted for counsel and material aid. My thanks 
are also due to Anthony Lamb, Esq., of Cambridge, 
Doctor O'Callaghan of Albany, Dr. R. L. Allen, Hon. 
Judge Hay, and Daniel Sheppard, Esq. of Saratoga 
Springs, for valuable suggestions. Nor must I forget 
to make special mention of the kindness of the Regents 
and Librarians of the New York State University and 



PREFACE. Vll 

Library, in affording me every facility for examining 
the books and original documents under their control. 
To Thomas Simons, Esq., of Albany, and Elnathan 
Judson, Esq., of New York, I am truly grateful for 
assistance in copying many pages of manuscript. 

In conclusion I may add, that in the preparation of 
this work, I have made no statement, and drawn no 
inference, that I did not conscientiously believe was 
fully warranted by the original authorities to which I 
have had immediate access. 

WILLIAM L. STONE. 

Saratoga Springs, January 1st, 1865. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

1534_1741. 

Plan of the present work, 9 — Success of the French in winning the con- 
fidence of the Indians ; one exception to this success, 10 — Inconsidera- 
ble attention paid to the Five Nations by the first three English governors, 
11 — Enterprise of the Jesuit missionaries during the peace of 1667, 12 — 
Efforts of Governor Dongan to thwart the influence of the French, 14 — 
Convention of the Five Nations at Albany in 1684, 15 — Success of 
Dongan's efforts, 16 — Neglect of Indian affairs in the colony of New 
York during the Leisleriau administration, 17 — Count Frontenac vainly 
attempts to detach the Confederates from the English interest, 18 — 
Defeat of De Calliers, Governor of Montreal, by Major Peter Schuyler, 
19 — Colonel Fletcher succeeds Ingoldsby as governor. Iugoldsby holds 
a council with the Five Nations at Albany, in 1692, 20 — Governor Fletcher 
takes Major Schuyler into his councils, 20 — Count Frontenac captures 
two of the Mohawk castles, 21 — Schuyler takes the field in pursuit. The 
purpose of the Oneidas to make peace with the French frustrated by 
Governor Fletcher, who calls a council of the Confederacy in July, 1693, 
22 — Count Frontenac makes another effort to subjugate the Five Nations, 
23 — The Earl of Bellamont succeeds Governor Fletcher, 24 — Colonel 
Schuyler visits England in 1710 with five Iroquois chiefs, 26 — Senecas 
prevented from turning their arms against the English by the peace of 
Utrecht in 1713, 27 — The Confederates meditate hostilities against the 
Catawbas and Cherokees. Numerical strength of the Tuscaroras, 28 — 
They are taken into the Iroquois Confederacy, which is henceforth known 
as the Six Nations, 29 — General Hunter goes back to England, leaving 
Schuyler at the head of the colonial administration. The latter holds a 
treaty with the Six Nations, 29 — Failure to expel the Jesuit emissary, 
Joncaire, from the Senecas, 30 — William Burnet takes the reins of govern- 
ment in 1720. Endeavors to break up the Indian trade between Albany 
and Montreal, 30 — Passage of an act for that purpose, 31 — Trading post 
established at Oswego in 1722. Beneficial effects of Burnet's policy, 31 
— The establishment of an English post at Oswego, a source of great dis- 
pleasure to the French. Mr. Burnet meets the Confederates at Albany 
in 1727, 32 — Mr. Montgomery succeeds Mr. Burnet in the government, 
33 — Revival of the trade between Albany and Montreal, 84 — Death of 
Montgomery. Rip Van Dam succeeds him for a short period, 34 — Stormy 
administration of Governor Cosby, 35 — The Six Nations again resume 
hostilities against the southern Indians. The latter are defeated with 
the loss of twelve hundred braves, 35 — George Clarke, after a brief 
struggle with Rip Van Dam, is commissioned lieutenant governor, 36^- 
Recommends to the assembly various important measures, 87 — The elec- 
tion between Adolphe Pbilipse and Gerrit Van Horn contested. 
Eloquence of Mr. Smith on the occasion, 39 — Increased political excite- 
ment during the years 1738 — 1739. Reasons for it, 41 — Demand for a per- 



VI CONTENTS. 

manent supply bill. Dissolution of the assembly. Temper of the new 
onej 43 — The governor yields to the assembly, 44 — Mr. Clarke complains 
bitterly of the continued encroachments on the crown by the people, 45 — ■ 
The assembly decline making an appropriation for rebuilding the chapel 
among the Mohawks, 47 — War declared against Spain, 47 — Grand council 
of the Confederacy held at Albany by the lieutenant governor in 1741. 
Satisfactory result, 51 — The famous negro plot. Incidents connected 
with it, 52. 

CHAPTER II. 
1742—1744. 
Prominence of Sir William Johnson in the colonial annals of the United 
States. His life and character hitherto but imperfectly understood, 56 — 
Family and descent. His uncle Sir Peter Warren, 57 — Marriage of Sir 
Peter Warren. Birth of Sir William Johnson, 59 — Arrival in America, 
60 — Takes charge of his uncle's estate in the Mohawk valley, and keeps 
a country store. Means of both uncle and nephew, at this time, small ? 
60 — Receives advice from his uncle, 61 — His style of living. Description 
of his person. His success in winning the confidence and affection of 
the Mohawks, 64 — Proposes to erect a saw mill. His education, 65 — 
Difficulty in fixing the exact date of his marriage. Character of his wife, 
Catharine Weisenberg, 66 — the Six Nations in 1742, send a large delega- 
tion to Philadelphia. Its object, 66 — Proceedings of the council, 68 — 
Tact of Lieutenant Governor Thomas, 69 — Interesting historical incident 
during the sitting of the council, 71 — Complaint made by the Indians 
against the governor and people of Maryland. Misunderstood on the 
part of Virginia, 73 — A party of Indians invade the county of Augusta, 
and kill several Virginians. Correspondence between Lieutenant 
Governor Gooch and Lieutenant Governor Clarke in relation to it, 73 — 
Jacobus Bleecker sent to Onondaga by the Indian commissioners, 74 — 
Another embassy sent to Onondaga. Result of these missions, 76 — 
Arrival of Admiral George Clinton as the successor of Lieutenant 
Governor Clarke, 77 — Opening speech of the new governor probably 
moulded by Chief Justice De Lancey. Tone of the speech, 79 — Sketch 
of Chief Justice De Lancey, 59 — De Lancey, in behalf of the assembly, 
draws up an humble address, 80 — The governor signs all the bills pre- 
sented to him, 81 — Removal of Mr. Johnson from the south to the north 
side of the Mohawk. Opens a correspondence on his own account with 
the opulent house of Sir William Baker & Co., London. Grows in the 
public estimation, 81 — Lays the foundation of his future prosperity on the 
basis of honorable dealing, 82 — The government of New York authorized 
to issue letters of marque against Spain, 82 — Activity of Captain Warren 
at sea. Captures a privateer and is promoted, 86 — Clinton communicates 
to the assembly advices of the intended invasion of England by "a Popish 
Pretender," 87 — Holds a conference with the Six Nations at Albany, 88. 
— Expresses apprehensions for the post at Oswego, 89 — Lays before his 
council a communication from the commandant at Oswego, in relation to 
the designs of the French against that post, 90 — Grand Indian council at 
Lancaster in 1744. Its proceedings in detail, 91 — 109. 

CHAPTER III. 
1744—1745. 
Repose of the colonies under the administration of Sir Robert Walpole, 
broken by the declaration of war against France. Attempts of the 
French upon Acadia and Placentia, 110 — Declaration of hostilities 
announced to the general assembly by Clinton. Strong measures urged 
for the protection of the colony and city of New York, 111. The build- 
ing of a strong fort in the vicinity of Crown Point recommended, 112 — 
Cowardly retreat of the English traders from Oswego. The house pledge 



CONTENTS. Vll 

the ways and means for putting the colony in a posture of defence, 113 — 
The Caughnawagas take up the hatchet against the English, 114 — Special 
allowances voted for the defence of Albany and Schenectady, 115 — The 
French again active in their endeavors to win the Six Nations from the 
English, 116 — Mr. Bleecker is despatched into the Seneca country. 
Returns and reports favorably. Another report from a French deserter, 
117 — Arrest and discharge of David Leisberger and Christian Frederick 
Post. Governor Shirley proposes the capture of Louisburg, 118 — 
Description of the harbor and defences of Louisburg, 119. — Shirley com- 
municates his plan to the ministry, 120 — Circular letters sent to the 
several colonial governors, 122 — Lukewarm reception of the scheme by 
New York. Its cause, 122 — Conduct of the assembly, and its dissolution 
.by the governor, 122 — 128 — Preparations of Shirley for the capture of 
Cape Breton, 129 — The command of the land forces given to Colonel 
William Pepperell, 130 — Circumstances which favored the undertaking, 
132 — Unfitness of Shirley to direct the conduct of the expedition, 133 — 
Commodore Warren assumes command of the naval forces, 136 — Progress 
of the seige, 138 — Success of Warren in cruizing off the harbor, 142 — 
Surrender of the city, 14(5 — The Mermaid despatched to England with 
the tidings. Effect of the conquest in Europe and America, 148 — Honor- 
able rewards to the master spirits of the expedition, 149 — Unwillingness 
of the parent government to reimburse the colonies for their expenses, 
150 — Efforts to detract from the just fame of the Provincials defeated, 
151 — Discussion respecting the relative merits of Pepperell and Warren, 
156. 

CHAPTER IV. 

1745—1746. 
David Jones of Queens county, elected speaker of the new assembly, 157 — 
Clinton urges upon the assembly the importance of reinforcing the 
forces of Pepperell and Warren. Doth branches of the assembly respond 
cordially. Indian relations of the colony again critical, 158 — Dissatis- 
faction among the Six Nations. Examination of John Henry Lydius, 
159 — Animosity between the Mohawks and the people of Albany. 
Conrad Weiser sent on a friendly tour among the Six Nations, 160 — 
Reception of Weiser. Accusations against the Albanians by the Con- 
federates, 161 — The commissioners of Indian affairs announce the 
approach of scalping parties of Canadian Indians. Barbarities of these 
Indians on the frontier of New Hampshire, 162 — Attention of the assem- 
bly called to these outrages. A general council with the Indians recom- 
mended, 163 — Proceedings of the council. Speech of Ilendrik, 164 — 
Suspicions of the Massachusetts commissioners, 170 — Clinton communi- 
cates the result of the council to the assembly in a special message, 172 
— Burning by the French and Indians of the settlement at Saratoga, 173 
— Destruction of the village of Hoosick, 174 — Governor Clinton reproves 
the assembly for its indifference, 175 — Communication from Colonel 
Philip Schuyler laid before the privy council. Dissatisfaction at the 
removal of the local militia from the city, 176 — Prospect of a gloomy 
winter. Exciting rumors, 177 — Clinton asks for an appropriation to 
build a stone fort at the great carrying place between Hudson River and 
Lake Champlain, 178 — Doubtful position assumed by the Confederacy, 179. 
The importance of an alliance with New England for mutual protection 
appreciated. Commissioners appointed for that purpose, 180 — The ques- 
tion of parliamentary law and prerogative before the council and assem- 
bly, 181 — The assembly driven from the city by the small pox, 182 — Dis- 
cussion of the revenue bill by the council and assembly, 183 — The victory 
with the representatives of the people, 185 — Resolution adopted directing 
the erection of six strong block-houses. Appropriations for other import- 
ant objects, 185 — Clinton again asks for reinforcements for Pepperell 



Vlll CONTENTS. 

and Warren, and is refused. Reluctance of the assembly to cooperate 
with the New England colonies not easily explained, 186. 

CHAPTER V. 

1746. 
Commencement of the brilliant public career of Sir William Johnson. 
He erects a valuable flouring mill. Builds an elegant stone mansion, 
and calls it Mount Johnson. Becomes known to Governor Clinton, 
probably through the influence of Chief Justice Do Lancey, 187 — His 
commercial affairs widely extended. Is engaged in shipping furs to 
London. Is commissioned a justice of the peace for Albany county. 
Begins to participate largely in the political concerns of the colony, as 
shown by the return of Mr. Holland to the assembly from Schenectady, 
188 — The exact date of his wife's decease not known. Birth of a sou — 
John Johnson, and of two daughters — Mary and Nancy. Is rapidly 
gaining an ascendency over the Iroquois Confederacy. Manuscript letter 
from James Wilson to Johnson, 189 — Comprehensive views of Shirley, 
190^Coumrunicates them to the government of New York, 191 — The 
duke of Newcastle's letter laid before the council, 192 — Joyful reception 
of these communications by the legislature and people, 193 — Inaction 
of the parent government, 196 — Expedition against Quebec abandoned, 
198 — Activity of the French, 199 — Alarm of the North American seaports 
on the approach of D'Anville's fleet, 200 — Quari-el of Chief Justice Be 
Lancey with Governor Clinton. Causes which led to it, 2ul — Governer 
Clinton arrives in Albany to meet the Six Nations. Finds very few 
Indians in attendance, 202 — Rumors of a French expedition against 
Schenectady communicated to Clinton by Johnson. 204 — Growing dis- 
affection of the Six Nations, 205 — The Jesuits succeed in gaining over 
some of the chiefs, 206 — Mr. Clinton avails himself, in the Indian 
department, of the services of Mr. Johnson. Qualifications of the latter 
for this branch of the public service, 207 — Mr. Johnson exerts himself 
successfully in winning back the friendship of the Confederates. Pre- 
vails upon them to attend the council, 208 — Is adopted by the Mohawks, 
and invested with the rank of a war chief, 209 — Receives from the 
Mohawks an Indian name. Enters Albany at the head of a party of 
Mohawks, dressed and painted as a warrior, 210 — Dr. Colden opens the 
council with a speech, 211 — Reply of the Indians, 213 — An alliance 
defensive and offensive formed with the Iroquois Confederacy, 216 — 
Astonishing ignorance of Mr. Clinton in relation to affairs in New Eng- 
land, 217 — Efforts of the Canadian governor to neutralize Mr. Clinton's 
proceedings, 218 — The Caughnawagas, instigated by the French, vainly 
attempt to dissuade the Six Nations from their recent alliance, 219 — 
Impossibility of the Iroquois Confederacy, from their geographical 
position, remaining neutral, 219. 

CHAPTER VI. 

1746. 
The Canadian Indians desolate the New England frontier, 221 — Number 
Four. Upper Ashuelet and Bernardstown attacked, 222 — Command of 
the posts west of Hoosick mountain confided to Captain Ephraim Williams, 
224 — Vaudreuil invests Fort Massachusetts, 225 — Bravery of the garri- 
son, 226 — Its capture, 227 — Remarkable conduct of the Indians, 228 — 
Active operations against Crown Point abandoned, 229 — Mr. Johnson 
directed to organize war parties of Indians to harrass the French 
settlements, 230.— The preparations of the French for the reconquest 
of Cape Breton prove abortive, 232 — Disasters to D'Anville's fleet, 
233 — Suicide of D'Estournelle, 234 — Governor Clinton returns to New 
York. Dissatisfaction with the Indian commissioners. The manage- 
ment of the Indian department devolves chiefly upon Mr. Johnson, 

/ 



CONTENTS. IX 

235 — Trouble between Governor Clinton and his assembly, 23G — Henry 
Holland, by order of Colonel Roberts, breaks open the public store bouses 
in Albany, 238 — The assembly urged to their opposition of the governor 
by De Lancey, 240 — Holland declared guilty of a high misdemeanor, 241 
— Review of Holland's conduct, 242 — The Sckuylers take offence at the 
growing influence of Johnson, 243 — Johnson becomes contractor for 
supplying the Oswego garrison. First step taken toward the establish- 
ment of Kings, now Columbia college, 245 — Mr. De Lancey makes 
another demonstration against his rival, Dr. Colden, 246 — Johnson pays 
a visit to Governor Clinton in the autumn. Receives from the governor 
the rank of colonel. Is recommended by Clinton, through the duke of 
Newcastle, to his majesty's favor, 247 — The operations of the New Eng- 
landers in Nova Scotia end disastrously. Inactivity of the enemy during 
the winter, 248. 

CHAPTER VII. 

1747. 
Shirley conceives the project of a descent upon Crown Point, 249 — New 
York deems the plan impracticable, 250 — Active correspondence between 
Clinton and Johnson in relation to the Indian service, 251 — Exertions of 
Colonel Johnson, 254: — Letter from Colonel Johnson to Governor Clinton, 
255 — Enumeration of scalps taken from the enemy, 257 — Attack on 
Charlestown, N. H., 258 — Raising of the seige, 260— Rebuilding of Fort 
Massachusetts, 261 — Clinton again involved in controversies with his 
legislature, 262 — Letter from Clinton to Johnson regarding the disloyalty 
of some Albanians, 266 — Mutiny of the levies at Saratoga, 267 — Report 
of the committee, charged with the preparation of an address to the 
governor, 273 — The attention of the assembly called to the disaffection 
among the northern levies. Reply of the house, 274 — Movements of 
Sir Peter Warren. Appointed second in command under M. Anson, 275 
— Is promoted to the rank of rear admiral of the white, 277 — Meets 
with great success in his cruizes, and is returned to parliament, 278. 

CHAPTER VIII. 

1747. 
Military affairs in the north in a deplorable condition. Desertion of the 
troops. Murders by the enemy, 279 — Captain Chew defeated near 
Lake Champlain by M. Lacose, and taken prisoner. Schuyler marches 
to repel the invaders, 280 — The Six Nations complain to Schuyler. Clin- 
ton concerts measures with Schuyler for relieving Oswego. Governor 
Shirley meditates an attack upon Crown Point, 281 — Clinton lays Shir- 
ley's plan before the assembly, 282 — Is received coldly, 283 — Activity of 
the enemy. Saratoga surrendered. Johnson writes to Clinton, 284 — He 
demands a guard to escort the stores to Oswego, 286 — The assembly 
refuse to allow them, 287 — Letter from Clinton to Johnson, 288 — High 
estimation in which Johnson was held by Clinton. Cause of Johnson's 
jealousy toward Lydius, 291 — Johnson returns from an expedition against 
Crown Point. The fort at Saratoga in danger of being evacuated through 
want of provisions, 292 — More trouble between Clinton and the assem- 
bly, 293 — Colonel Roberts directed to send three companies to Saratoga, 
294 — Colonel Johnson visits New York to consult with the governor 
respecting tho condition of the colony. His advice, 295 — Clinton and 
Shirley still cling to the expedition against Crown Point. The former 
again appeals to his legislature and dwells upon the views of Johnson, 
296 — The assembly respond coldly, 299 — The assembly in secret sitting 
attack Colonel Johnson. Reasons for this attack, 301 — Clinton charges 
the house with falsehood, and adverts to the services of Johnson in 
terms of high praise, 305 — The hopes of the colonies fall to the ground. 
The duke of Newcastle orders Clinton and Shirley to desist from the 



X CONTENTS. 

intended expedition, 310 — Trouble with James Parker, printer to the 
assembly, 311 — -Clinton proposes to detail large bodies of the militia for 
the defence of the frontiers, 312 — The assembly charge the governor 
with inconsistency, 314 — Clinton again involved in controversies with 
the assembly on the question of prerogative, 315 — He dissolves the 
assembly much to its surprise, 318 — Review of the controversy, 320 — 
Difficulty between Commodore Knowles and the citizens of Boston on 
the subject of press gangs. Shirley's house mobbed, 222 — Order 
restored, 225 — Governor Clinton presses the command of the northern 
frontier upon Colonel Johnson. The latter is entrusted with the duty of 
effecting a complete reorganization of the militia. All confidence 
reposed in him, 326. 

CHAPTER IX. 
1748. 
Prominence of Johnson in the affairs of the colony — Accepts the command 
of the troops for the defence of the frontiers. Devotes himself to the 
management of the Indian department. Becomes favorably known to 
the colonial and British government. Employs as his housekeeper, Mol- 
ly Brant, 327. — Beneficial effects of this Indian alliance, 328. — New 
assembly chosen. The governor's opening speech conciliatory. Arent 
Stevens succeeds Mr. Bleeker, deceased, as government interpreter to 
the Indians, 329. — The dissolution of the old assembly produces a better 
state of feeling in tbe new one. The answer of the council to the 
governor's speech moved by De Lancey, 330 — Resolutions passed for 
repairing the fortifications along the frontiers. Robert Charles appointed 
agent for the colony, to reside in London with a salary of £200 per an- 
num, 331 — The action of the assembly attributed to a desire to supplant 
Clinton in the gubernatorial chair by Sir Peter Warren. Warren not a 
party to this intrigue, 332 — Discontent of the Six Nations. Alarming 
intelligence from Colonel Johnson and Lieutenant Lindesay of Oswego, 
332 — Colonel Johnson directed by Clinton to make a tour in the Indian 
country, 333 — Objects to be attained by this tour, 334 — Johnson sum- 
mons a council of the Confederacy at Onondaga. Arrives at the Onon- 
daga castle, and meets with a flattering reception, 335 — Proceedings of 
Johnson at the council, 336 — Communicates to the Indians, the intention 
of Clinton to meet them at Albany, 339 — He recommends to the governor 
strong legislative enactments to prevent the sale of rum to the Indians, 
341 — A grand council of the Six Nations at Albany, long in contempla- 
tion by Clinton and Shirley, 341 — Clinton's efforts to second Shirley's 
plan for an expedition against Crown Point fruitless, 342 — Complains to 
the lords of trade of the continued encroachments of the assembly upon 
the crown. Lays before the assembly Colonel Johnson's report of the 
council at Onondaga, 343 — Urges an immediate exchange of prisoners. 
The assembly recommends the sending of a flag of truce to Canada, 344 — 
Colonel Beekman prefers a charge against the governor, 344 — Important 
tidings received from Europe, 345 — Letter from Clinton to Johnson, 
announcing that preliminaries of peace had been signed at Aix la Cha- 
pelle, 346 — Clinton, accompanied by Dr. Colden, arrives in Albany to 
attend the grand council. Unprecedented number of Indians present, 
348 — Proceedings of the council not important, 349 — Massacre at. Sche- 
nectady. No accurate account of it in existence, 350 — General result of 
the council satisfactory, 353 — Heart rending tragedy in the town of 
Hoosick, 354 — The borders of Massachusetts and New Hampshire again 
suffer from the enemy, 361 — Narrow escape of Captain Melvin and his 
party, 362 — The enemy generally successful in these border skirmishes, 
363 — Captain Eph. Williams narrowly escapes capture, 364 — Serious 
trouble among the troops stationed at Albany and along the frontiers. 
The commissioners refuse to execute the orders of the governor, 365 — 



CONTENTS. XI 

Complains of this in a letter to Colonel Johnson, determines to reassert 
the prerogative in the strongest terms, by bringing the supply-bill to a 
direct issue, 366 — The assembly refuse to grant it, 368 — Various succes- 
ses of the English fleet in the West Indies, 369 — Definite treaty of peace 
signed at Aix la Chapelle. End of the old French war, 370 — The Con- 
federates demand the release of their braves in Canada. Negotiations 
between Clinton and La Galissoniere in relation to the exchange, 371 — 
Embassy of M. Francis Marie. Suspicions of Johnson, 372 — Mutual 
dissatisfaction of all parties, 373. 

CHAPTER X. 
1749-1750. 

Johnson is entrusted with the transfer of the prisoners. Success of his nego- 
tiations, 374 — Apprehensions of the Mohawks artfully increased by La 
Galissoniere. Johnson writes Clinton upon the subject. Reply of the 
governor, 375 — Johnson summons both of the Mohawk castles to a con- 
ference. Happy results, 376 — Trouble between the Indians and a few 
Albany traders. Proclamation of the governor in regard to it, 377 — 
General exchange of prisoners effected, 377 — Remarkable energy of 
Colonel Johnson, 378 — He thwarts all the plans of Galissoniere and his 
priests, 379 — Encroachments of the French in Nova Scotia, 379 — 
Colonel Johnson is appointed by the crown to a seat in his majesty's 
council for the province of New York, 380 — This appointment, though 
unsought, by no means a surprise, 381 — Wranglings between the 
governor and his assembly continue. The post at Oswego in danger of 
being given up. The assembly dissolved and writs issued for a new one, 
382 — The assembly allow Colonel Johnson part of the debt due him for 
provisioning the Oswego garrison, 383 — Contemptible conduct of the 
assembly toward Johnson. Falsely charges him with peculation, 384 — 
Resignation of Johnson as superintendent of Indian affairs. The step 
not entirely unexpected by Clinton, 385. 

CHAPTER XI. 

1750-1751. 
The peace of Aix la Chapelle received by the colonies with strong feelings 
of dissatisfaction, 386 — Proves to be a peace only in name. Boundaries 
between the English and French possessions left undetermined, 387 — The 
French occupy the valley of the Ohio. La Presentation founded by Rev. 
Abbe Piquet, 388 — Sagacity of Picquet. La Presentation destroyed by 
Gage in 1757, 389 — Jean Cceur, a French emissary, stirs up the Six Na- 
tions against the Catawbas. Johnson advises Clinton of the fact, 390 — 
Clinton acting upon the suggestions of Johnson, summons the Confed- 
eracy to meet the Catawbas in Albany. Determines to have the ends of 
the council take a wider scope, and asks the different colonial governors 
to send delegates, 391 — Johnson informs the Mohawks of the governor's 
intentions. The invitation of Thomas Lee of Virginia declined by the Six 
Nations, 392 — Commissioners present at the council, 393 — The Six 
Nations are grieved at the resignation of Colonel Johnson. They 
despatch a fleet runner for him, 394 — Johnson arrives in Albany to 
attend the council. Is requested by Clinton to continue in the charge of 
the Indian department, but peremptorialy declines, 395 — Is willing to 
render every assistance in an individual capacity, 396 — Johnson takes 
the oaths of office as a councillor. Clinton opens the council, 396 — 
Reply of the Confederates. Address of Mr. Bull, commissioner from 
South Carolinia, 397 — Speech of the Catawba king to the Six Nations, 
398 — Treaty between the Six Nations and the Catawbas concluded, 400 — 
Clinton lays before his council letters from Colonel Johnson and Captain 
Stoddard of a startling nature. Designs of the French upon Oswego, 
402 — Col Johnson sent down to the house by the council to demand cer- 



Xll CONTENTS. 

tain vouchers. They are refused, 403 — Churlish treatment of the 
governor by the house, 404 — Master stroke of policy on the part of Mr. 
Clinton, 405 — The French plan farther encroachments upon the territory 
of New York. Meditate the establishment of a missionary and military 
post at Oswego. The design frustrated by Johnson. The council grant 
him Onondaga lake with the land around it for two miles in width. 
Otherwise than this his debt from the colony never paid, 406. 

CHAPTER XII. 

1752-1753. 

Dawning of a new era in American literature, 407 — Johnson indulges in 
literary pursuits, and sends to London for books, 408 — Takes special 
interest in the intellectual culture of the Mohawk children. Becomes a 
prominent patron of the mission school at Stockbridge, 409 — Places 
Joseph Brant under the charge of Dr. Eleazer Wheelock at Lebanon Ct,., 
410 — Closing years of Sir Peter Warren. His death announced to John- 
son in a letter from his brother Warren Johnson, 411 — William Smith 
appointed to the seat at the council board, left vacant by Sir Peter War- 
ran's decease, 412 — Principal features of the new assembly, 413 — Clin- 
ton consults Colonel Johnson in the appointment of a new board of 
Indian commissioners, 414 — Fees of Chief Justice De Lancey, 415 — He 
ceases his opposition to the governor, 416 — Difficulty in collecting the 
Oswego duties John De Peyster and Peter Schuyler Jr. charged with 
peculation. Johnson requested to sift the matter, 416 — Makes his 
report, 417 — Hostile Indians still hover along the northern frontier, A 
party of St. Francis Indians surprise and capture John Stark, after- 
ward the hero of Bennington, 418 — Clinton's opening message to the 
assembly, 418 — French again active, 419 — Johnson apprised of the move- 
ments of the enemy. Alarm of the Six Nations, 420 — Indian affairs 
sadly neglected since the resignation of Johnson. King Hendrik visits 
Clinton in New York. Complains bitterly of the frauds to which the 
Indians were subjected in the sale of their lands, 421 — Reply of the 
governor. Disgust of Hendrik, 422 — The general assembly request 
Clinton to send Johnson to Onondaga to pacify the Six Nations, 424 — 
Johnson summons the Mohawks to Mount Johnson, 425 — Sets out on his 
mission, 426 — Conference at Onondaga attended with happy results, 427 — 
Arrival of Sir Danvers Osborne as the successor of Governor Clinton, 
428 — Strange conduct of the new governor. He commits suicide. Sus- 
picions of foul play clearly without foundation, 429 — Mr. De Lancey 
takes the reins of government, 430 — His opening message to the assem- 
bly, 431 — Change in the administration productive of one good result, 
433 — Death of Governor Clinton. His character, 434. 

CHAPTER XIII. 
1753-1754. 
Period reached when the active public life of Colonel Johnson begins, 
436 — Claims of England and France to the Ohio valley, 436 — Formation 
of the Ohio company, 437 — Christopher Gist sent to explore the country. 
Commissioners treat at Lcgstown with the Mingoes and Shawanese, 438 — 
The French call to their aid the spiritual arm, 439 — La Jonquere seizes 
the English traders. George Washington sent by Governor Dinwiddie 
to remonstrate with the French commander, 440 — His reception by St. 
Pierre, 441 — Mr. De Lancey informs the assembly of the encroachments 
of the French, 441 — Niggardly spirit of the assembly, 442 — The lieuten- 
ant governor answers the quibbles of the assembly and prorogues that 
body, 444 — Virginia raises a regiment of six hundred men, 445 — Wash- 
ington with his troops reaches Will's creek, 446 — The fort at the Monon- 
gahela captured by Contrecceur, who names it Du Quesne, 447 — Washing- 
ton is put on his guard by the half king, 447 — Defeats De Jummville. 



CONTENTS. Xlil 

Builds a furl at the Great Meadows 'which he called Fort Necessity, 448 — 
Surrenders Fort Necessity to De Villiors. The French loll iu undisputed 
possession of the basin of the Ohio, 449. 

CHAPTER XIV. 
1754. 

Congress of commissioners assemble at Albany. Its object, 450 — Colonies 
represented. Backwardness of the Six Nations in arriving. Jealousy 
of the Indian commissioners toward Johnson, 451 — True cause of the 
reluctance of the Indians to attend the council. Lieutenant Governor 
De Lancey called to the chair, 452 — Opening speech of De Lancey to the 
Indians, 453 — King Hendrik replies, 454 — The venerable Mohawk brave 
utters a scathing phillipic, 456 — Speech of his bvother Abraham. 
Desires that Colonel Johnson may be reinstated. Biting irony of his 
speech, 456 — Johnson prepares an answer, which is delivered by the 
lieutenant governor, 457 — Johnson, at the request of the commissioners, 
submits a paper on the management of the Six Nations, 458 — Measures 
urged by him, 459 — Origin of the Wyoming lands, 4G0 — The Con- 
necticut delegates purchase the lands of the Six Nations. Extent of the 
land thus purchased, 464 — Plan of a general federal union taken into 
consideration, 465 — Plan not adopted. Why it was not, 466 — Savage 
hordes let loose upon the whole frontier. The storm bursts with all its 
fury, 467 — Dutch Hoosic burned by Schaghticoke Indians. Vigorous 
measures of Shirley, 468 — Captain Ephraim Williams given a command 
with the rank of major. De Lancey vies with Shirley in efficient pre- 
parations for defence, 469 — The French meditate a descent upon the 
lower settlements. Johnson places the militia in a condition for efficient 
service. Difficulties between the militia and regulars at Schenectady, 
470 — De Lancey announces to the general assembly the defeat of Wash- 
ington at the Great Meadows, 471 — Want of harmony in the assembly, 
472 — Origin of the famous college, controversy, 472 — The church party 
writhe under the lash of William Livingstone, 474 — Charter of the col- 
lege granted by Lieutenant Governor De Lancey. He and Johnson 
become warm friends, 475 — Rev. Mr. Barclay resigns his post among 
the Mohawks for the rectorate of Trinity Church, 476 — A fort on the 
Hudson river above Albany ordered to be built, 477 — End of the college 
controversy, 478. 

CHAPTER XV. 
1755. 

Vascillating course of the Newcastle ministry. Edward Braddock sent to 
America with two regiments, 479 — Dieskau and Vaudreuil arrive at 
Quebec. Surrender of two French men-of-war. General assembly again 
convened, 480 — Johnson arrives in New York to take his seat at the 
council board. Delivers to the lieutenant governor a letter from the 
Mohawks, 481 — Shirley again agitates the question of a descent on 
Crown Point. Thomas Pownal sent as commissioner to New York. 
Meets with a cold reception, 482 — Braddock calls a conference at Alex- 
andria. Four separate expeditions against the French planned, 483 — 
Johnson receives the command of one of them, with the rank of major 
general. Form of his commission. Receives also the appointment of 
Indian affairs, 484 — Summons the Confederacy to a grand council at 
Mount Johnson. Informs the Indians of the arrival of General Brad- 
dock, 485 — The Confederacy, through Hendrik, express great satisfac- 
tion at his being" again raised up," 486 — Johnson, by a stirring speech, 
persuades them to take up arms in favor of the English, 488 — Shirley 
hastens to Boston to prepare for the expedition under his command, 
489 — The assembly of New York, urged by De Lancey, enter with alac- 
rity into the work of raising troops for Major General Johnson, 491) — 



XIV CONTENTS. 

Conquest of Acadia, 491 — Character of the Acadians, 492 — Brutality of 
General Monckton, 498 — Cruel fate of the Acadians, 494 — Expedition of 
Braddock, 494 — His defeat, 496 — The half king at the solicitation of 
Johnson, offers his services to Braddock, and is refused, 497 — The French 
prevail on several Indian tribes to take up the hatchet. Susquehannas 
and Catawbas remain faithful, 498 — Shirley's expedition against Niagara, 
498 — It proves abortive, 490 — All eyes turned to the expedition under 
Major General Johnson, 500. 

CHAPTER XVI. 
1755. 
The forces destined against Crown Point assemble at Albany. General 
Lyman is sent forward with the greater part of the troops. Johnsonl 
delayed by the leaky condition of the bateaux, 501 — Difficulty between 
himself and Shirley. Shirley's conduct, 502 — He is piqued at the seem- 
ing neglect shown to his position, 504 — Johnson heals the dissensions 
sown among the Indians by Lydius. Arrives at the great carrying 
place, accompanied by Hendrik and Brant, 505 — The New England 
troops burn to retrieve the disgrace of Braddock's defeat. General 
Lyman builds Fort Edward, 506 — Johnson reaches Lake St. Sacrament, and 
names it Lake George. Is joined by Lyman, 507 — His dissappointment 
at finding so few of the Six Nations at the lake. Hendrik attributes it to 
Shirley, 508 — Johnson's plan of operations, 510 — Movements of Dieskau. 
A courier sent out by Johnson killed by the enemy, 611 — A council of 
war called. Hendrik's advice, 512 — Dieskau arranges an ambuscade. 
Deaths of Hendrik and Williams, 513 — The French fail to take advant- 
age of their first success. The attack on Johnson's camp begun by the 
French regulars, 514 — Dieskau attempts to turn Johnson's right. He fails. 
Desperate fighting by the Provincials, 515 — Utter route of the French. 
Dieskau, seriously wounded, is taken prisoner. Last words of Gardeur St. 
Pierre, 616 — General Johnson receives a severe wound and is forced to re- 
tire to his tent. Captain Maginnis defeats the remnants of the French army 
at Rocky Brook, 517 — Losses of the English and French. Singular histori- 
cal fact, not generally known, 517 — Johnson sends circular letters to 
the colonial governors. His treatment of Shirley vindicated. The 
Indians return home, 518 — Building of Fort William Henry. Want of 
alacrity shown by the New England troops, 519 — Efforts of Johnson to 
allay all jealousy, 520 — Favorable opinion of Johnson by a New England 
officer. Scouting parties, under Rogers, annoy the enemy in the 
vicinity of Crown Point. Johnson disbands his army and returns to 
Mount Johnson, 521 — He is severely censured. Review of his conduct, 
521 — Manuscript letters now first brought to light, afford a complete 
vindication of his conduct, 523 — He is created a Baronet of Great Brit- 
ain, and receives the thanks of parliament. Is greeted with an illumi- 
nation and a triumphal procession by the citizens of New York, 525 — 
Summing up of the results of the battle of Lake George, 526. 

CHAPTER XVII. 
1755-1756. 
Sir Charles Hardy arrives in New York as the successor of Sir Danvers 
Osborne. His first message to the assembly, 530 — Good feeling between 
the new governor and his legislature, 581 — Hardy appoints a day 
of thanksgiving, and sets out for Albany to hasten the departure of the 
levies 582 — Accomplishes little by the visit. Announces to the assembly 
Johnson's victory over Dieskau. Demands the settlement of a perma- 
nent revenue on a solid foundation. The assembly allude especially to 
the advantage gained by Johnson, 533 — Governor Hardy's demand for a 
permanent support met with quiet indifference, 534— The St. Francis 



CONTENTS. XV 

Indians resume their incursions in the New Hampshire border, 535 — 
Shirley, now commander-in-chief of the forces in America, arrives in 
New York and summons a grand congress of colonial governors, 536 — 
Lays before it his plan for the next year's campaign, which meets with 
the general approval of the congress, 537 — The assembly of New York 
look coldly upon the proposed expedition against Ticonderoga, and 
Shirley, in disgust, returns to Boston, 538 — Tart correspondence between 
Johnson and Shirley, 538 — The latter yields the point, 539 — Johnson is 
appointed by the crown, "sole superintendent of the affairs of the 

SIX NATIONS AND OTHER NORTHERN INDIANS, "540. 



APPENDIX. 

I. Letter from Colonel William L. Stone to the chiefs and warriors of the 

Senecas, acknowledging his adoption as a chief of that nation, 541. 

II. "A memorandum for trifles sent to London for through Captain Knox," 

by Sir William Johnson, 546. 

III. Sketch of Colonel Ephraim Williams, 547. 

IV. Sketch of King Hendrick, 549. 

V. Sketch of Fort William Henry (engraving) 553. 

VI. Manuscript letter ; Sir William Baker to Sir William Johnson, 554. 



THE LIFE AND TIMES 



SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



CHAPTER I. 
1534 — 1741. 



The annalist is the narrator of events in exact order of chap. 
time : the biographer is a relator, not of the history of ^— v— * 
nations, but of the actions of particular persons : the 
office of the historian is to digest and record facts and 
events in a narrative style, but of yet greater security and 
dignity. Such, at least, should be the office of the writer 
who aspires to the more elevated walks of history. It is 
not intended that the present work shall be confined within 
the limits of either of the preceding definitions ; but rather 
that it shall to an humble extent, combine the characteristics 
of all. Were it strictly biographical, it would be in order 
to introduce the principal personage concerning whom it 
is written, upon the stage of action in his own proper per- 
son, at the outset. But, as the life of Sir William John- 
son was, for a long series of years, identified with the 
Indian history of the colony of New York, it seems to be 
necessary, in order to a proper understanding of the rela- 
tions subsisting between the English and the Six Nations, 
at the time when he was appointed to the head of the 
Indian Department, — and in order, also, that the difficul- 
ties he was required to surmount may be adequately ap- 
preciated, — to give a summary review of the intricate 



10 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, and curiously interblended history of the Iroquois Con- 

*— v— ' federacy, as connected with the English and French colo- 

' nies, from the time of the Dutch conquest, and the cession 

of the colony to the Duke of York, down to the year in 

which Johnson, in his youth, established his residence in 

the valley of the Mohawk. 

It is not to be denied that the French, from the day of 
their arrival in the St. Lawrence to the fall of their power 
in America, were generally more successful in winning 
the confidence and affections of the Indians with whom 
they came into immediate contact, than any other Euro- 
pean people, not even excepting the Dutch. Their traders 
threaded the forests, and navigated the lakes and rivers, 
from the Gulf of the St. Lawrence to the Delta of the Mis- 
sissippi, — planting posts among them at pleasure, adopt- 
ing their habits, and intermarrying with their women. 
Their missionaries went forth unarmed and alone, every- 
where exhibiting the most beautiful examples of patience, 
meekness, and self-denial ; and, with rare exceptions, gain- 
ing the confidence of even the most savage hordes whom 
they encountered. Still there was one exception to this 
general success ; and the time was long after their estab- 
lishment in Canada, before they succeeded in making 
any favorable impressions upon the Iroquois. This delay 
was probably owing to the circumstance that when the 
French first ascended the St. Lawrence, they found the 
Confederates, upon whom they bestowed that name, 1 at 
war with the Hurons and Adirondacks, or Algonguins, — 
with which latter nations their first amicable relations were 
established, and as the allies of whom, under Champlain, 

1 " Iroquois," I need scarcely remark, was not an Indian, but a French 
name. The Five Nations called themselves "Aquanu Schioni," or " The 
United People." Iroquois is a generic term, bestowed by the French on 
that type of languages of which the Five Nations — the Tuscaroras, and, 
originally, the Wyandots, spoke dialects. The term, however, was early 
restricted to the two former ; and the latter, for distinction's sake, and 
owing to striking events in their history, were called Hurons. 





£j 


^gBSBCsB HBWl 


ifes- 


k 






J| 






ll. 




/ 








K 


\ 


1 

1 










\ 

\ 

1 

i 


11 

I 
1 






■3m 




1 

i 




' ' ^™* 




.-•■*'""' 


V / 


• 






JAME § 


n 







LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 11 

they engaged in the contest. The consequence of that chap. 
alliance was a bitter hostility on the part of the Iroquois w v _ , 
toward the French, which continued until after the con- 1634# 
quest of New York from the Dutch, in 1664. 1 During 1664. 
that long period even the artful Jesuits failed to make 
any considerable impression upon them, — especially upon 
the Mohawks, at whose hands three of their number suf- 
fered martyrdom with the spirit of a primitive apostle. 2 
More than once, likewise, before and after that date, the 
Iroquois swept over the French settlements with the torch 
and tomahawk, tracking their paths in blood, and carry- 
ing consternation even to the gates of Quebec. But the 
French and Adirondacks having successively invaded the 
country of the Mohawks with a strong force, in the spring 
of 1666, a peace was concluded in the following year, 
through the influence, in chief, of the English colonial 
government, acting in obedience to instructions from the 
Duke of York, — afterward King James II., — to whom 
the colony had been granted by his brother, the second 
Charles, of profligate memory. 

The first three English governors of the colony, or 
rather lieutenants of the Duke of York, viz : Colonels 
Mcholls, Lovelace, and Major, afterward Sir Edmund 
Andross, bestowed but inconsiderable attention upon the 
Five Nations, 3 not seeming to appreciate either the impor- 

1 Dr. Colden's Memoir on the Fur Trade. 

2 Father Joques, Brebceuf, and Lallemand. Vide Bancroft's United 
States, vol. iii, pp. 135-142. 

3 Nicholls, the first English governor, was the commander of the expedi- 
tion to whom Governor Stuyvesant capitulated, August twenty-seventh, 
1664. Francis Lovelace, a colonel, succeeded Nicholls in 1667. He was a 
man of moderation, under whom the people lived very happily until the re- 
surrender of the colony to the Dutch, which ended his administration in 1673. 
But on the peace between the English and the states general, in February, 
1674, the colony reverted back to England; and Major Andross (afterward 
Sir Edmund), was appointed to the government ; the province being resigned 



12 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, tance of their trade, or of their friendship. 1 Still, the 
«— v— ' mortal hatred they had borne the French, inclined them 
166 rather to prefer the friendship of the English. But the 
Duke of York, in his affection for the Church of Rome, 
shutting his eyes to what unquestionably should have been 
the true policy of the English toward the Indians, had 
conceived the idea of handing the Confederates over to 
the Holy See, as converts to its forms, if not to its faith. 
1667. Hence the efforts to mediate the peace between the Iro- 
quois and the French, of 1667 ; which were followed by 
invitations to the Jesuit missionaries, from the English, 
to settle among the Confederates, and by persuasions to 
the latter to receive them. The Mohawks were either too 
wise, or too bitter in spirit toward the French, to listen to 
the proposal. But not so with the other nations of the 
alliance ; and the Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Sene- 
cas opened their arms to the insidious strangers in holy 
garb, causing infinite mischief in after years, as will appear 
in the sequel; 

This peace of 1667 continued several years, during 
which time both the English and French prosecuted their 
trade with the Indians to a great and profitable extent. 
The French, especially, evinced a degree of energy, and a 
spirit of enterprise, almost unexampled in the history of 
colonization — planting their trading posts, under the lead 
of the adventurous La Salle, at all the commanding points 
of the great lakes, and across the country of the Illinois 
to the Mississippi ; and stealing the hearts of the Indians 
through the arts of the crafty ministers of the order of 
Jesus, whom they sprinkled among the principal nations 

to him in October following. Andross continued in the government of New 
York until 1682. In 1686 he was appointed by King James to the govern- 
ment of New England, where he displayed a tyrannical disposition. In 
1688 New York was annexed to the jurisdiction of New England. 

1 Smith's History of New York. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 13 

over the whole country of the exploration. By these bold chap. 
advances deep into the interior, and the insidious wiles *— y — - 
which everywhere characterized their movements, the 
French acquired a decided advantage over the English 
colonists in the fur trade, which it was evidently their 
design exclusively to engross ; while the direct tendency 
of the Duke of York's policy, originating in blindness 
and bigotry, was to produce exactly the same result. 

The error was soon perceived by Colonel Dongan, who 1683. 
arrived in the colony as the successor of Major An dross, 
in 1683. Though his religious faith was in harmony with 
that of his royal master, he nevertheless possessed an en- 
larged understanding, with a disposition, as a civil governor, 
to look more closely after the interests of the crown than 
those of the crosier. He had not been long at the head of 
the colony, before he perceived the mistakes of his prede- 
cessors in the conduct of its Indian relations. In fighting 
men, the Five Nations at that time numbered ten times 
more than they did half a century afterward ; l and the 
governor saw at once their importance as a wall of sepa- 
ration between the English Colonies and the French. He 
saw, also, the importance of their trade, which the Jesuit 
priests were largely influential in diverting to Canada. 
He saw that M. de Courcelles had erected a fort at Cada- 
raqui, within the territory of the Iroquois, on the north 
side of Lake Ontario, 2 and that La Salle had built a bark 
of ten tons upon that lake, and another of fifty upon Lake 
Erie ; planting, also, a stockade at Niagara. He saw that 
the French were intercepting the trade of the English 
upon the lakes, and that the priests had succeeded in 



1 Memoir of Dr. Colden, concerning the fur trade, presented to Gov. Bur- 
nett, in 1724. 

2 The site of Kingston, Canada West. 



14 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, seducing numbers of the Mohawks and river Indians 1 away 
»«■. v— ' from their own country, and planting their colonies upon 
" the banks of the St. Lawrence, in the neighborhood of 
Montreal, through whose agency an illicit trade had been 
established with the city of Albany, by reason of which 
Montreal, instead of Albany, was becoming the principal 
depot of the Indian trade. 2 He saw, in a word, that the sub- 
tle followers of Ignatius Loyola were rapidly alienating 
the affections of the Confederates from the English and 
transferring them to the French, 3 and that unless the 
policy respecting them was changed, the influence of the 
English would, at no distant day, be at an end with them. 
Nor had the priests confined their efforts simply to moral 
suasion ; but as though aiming to separate the Confede- 
rates from the English at a blow, and by a gulf so wide 
and deep as to be impassable, they had instigated them to 
commit positive hostilities upon the frontier settlements 
of Maryland and Virginia. 

Having made himself thouroughly acquainted with these 
matters, Colonel Dongan lost no time in seeking to coun- 
tervail the influence of the French, and to bring back the 
Indians to a cordial understanding with his own people. 
His instructions from home were to encourage the Jesuit 
missionaries. These he not only disregarded, but he 
ordered the missionaries away, and forbade the Five 
Nations to entertain them. 4 It is true this order was 
never enforced to the letter, — the priests, — some of 

1 The Mahickanders, or Stockbridge Indians. This tribe was composed 
of Mohegans, Narragansetts, the Farmington Indians, and refugees from 
what were called the Seven Nations of Connecticut Indians, who, fleeing 
before the march of civilization in New England, united with the Schaghti- 
koke Indians, and afterward settled together, as one people, at Stock - 
bridge, and subsequently were generally known as the " River Indians." 

2 Dr. Colden's memorial. 

3 Idem. 

* Smith's History of New York. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 15 

them at least, — maintaining a foothold at several points chap. 
of the Confederacy, — dubious, at times, certainly, — but*— ^— > 
yet maintaining it for three-quarters of a century after- 
ward. Still, the measures of conciliation adopted by Col- 
onel Dongan, made a strong and favorable impression upon 
the Indians. 

Availing himself of the difficulty between the Confed- 1684. 
erates and Virginia, consequent upon the outrages just 
adverted to as having been instigated by the priests, Col- 
onel Dongan was instrumental in procuring a convention 
of the Five Nations, at Albany, in 1684, to meet Lord 
Howard of Effingham, Governor of Virginia, at which he 
(Dongan), was likewise present. This meeting, or council, 
was attended by the happiest results. The difficulties 
with Virginia were adjusted and a covenant made with 
Lord Howard for preventing further depredations. 1 But 
what was of yet greater importance, Colonel Dongan 
succeeded in completely gaining the affections of the 
Indians, who conceived for him the warmest esteem. 
They even asked that the arms of the Duke of York 
might be put upon their castles ; — a request which it need 
not be said was most readily complied with, since should 
it afterwards become necessary, the governor might find 
it convenient to construe it into an act of at least partial 
submission to English authority, although it has been 
asserted that the Indians themselves looked upon the 
ducal insignia as a sort of charm, that might protect 
them against the French. 2 

There was likewise another fortunate concurrence of 
events just at that time which revived all the ancient ani- 
mosity between the Iroquois and the French. "While the 
conferences between Lord Howard and the Indians were 
yet in progress, a message was received from M. De la 

1 Smith's History of New York. 

2 Colden's History of the Five Nations. 



16 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Barre, the Governor of Canada, complaining of the con- 
^-v— ' duct of the Senecas in prosecuting hostilities against the 
' Miamies and other western nations in alliance with the 
French, and thus interrupting their trade. Colonel Don- 
gan communicated the message to the Iroquois chiefs, who 
retorted by charging the French with supplying their 
enemies with all their munitions of war. " Onontio 1 
calls us children," said they, "and at the same time sends 
powder to our enemies to kill us !" This collision resulted 
in open war between the Iroquois and the French, — the 
latter sending to France for powerful reinforcements, 
with the design of an entire subjugation of the former 
in the ensuing year. Meantime the French Catholics 
continued to procure letters from the Duke of York to 
his lieutenant, commanding him to lay no obstacles in the 
way of the invaders. But these commands were again 
disregarded. Dongan apprised the Iroquois of the designs 
of the French, not only to march against them with a 
strong army, but simultaneously to bring down upon them 
the western Indians in their interest. The English gov- 
ernor also promised to assist them if necessary. 
1G85. Thus by the wisdom, and the strong sense of justice, of 
Colonel Dongan, was the chain of friendship between 
the English and the Five Nations, brightened, and the 
most amicable relations re-established. Yet for the course 
he had taken, he fell under the displeasure of his bigoted 
master on his accession to the throne, in 1685. 2 

It is not, of course, within the purpose of this retrospect, 
to trace the progress of the long and cruel wars that suc- 
ceeded the negotiations between Colonel Dongan and 

1 The name by which the Iroquois were wont to speak of the French 
governors of Canada. 

2 Colonel Dongan continued in the government of the colony from 1683 
to 1688. He was highly respected as governor, being upright, discreet and 
of accomplished manners. He gave the colony its first legislative assem- 
bly, and after his return home became Earl of Limerick. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 17 

the Confederates. Briefly it may be said, in respect to chap. 
the expedition of M. de la Barrc, that it failed by reason w v _ 
of sickness in his army at Cadaraqui, before crossing the 1G ■ 
lake. He was succeeded in the government of Canada 
by the Marquis Denonville, who invaded the Seneca 
country in 1687 with a powerful force ; gaining, however, 1687. 
such a victory over the Indians, in the Genesee Valley, as 
led to an inglorious retreat. This invasion was speedily 
recompensed by the Confederates, who descended upon the 
French settlements of the St. Lawrence like a tempest and 
struck a blow of terrible vengeance upon Montreal itself. 

New York, was at this time, torn by the intestine commo- 
tions incident to the revolution which drove the Stuarts 
from the English throne, and ended the power of the 
Catholics in the colony. It was a consequence of these 
divisions, that the English could afford the Indians no 
assistance in their invasion of Canada, at that time, else 
that country would then doubtless have been wrested from 
the crown of France. But the achievements of the 
Indians were, nevertheless, most important for the colony 
of New York, the subjugation of which was at that pre- 
cise conjuncture meditated by France, and a combined 
expedition by land and sea, was undertaken for that pur- 
pose, — Admiral Cafthiere commanding the ships which 
sailed from Rochefort for New York, and the Count de 
Frontenac, who had succeeded Denonville, being the 
general of the land forces. On his arrival at Quebec, 
however, the count beheld his province reduced to a field 
of devastation, and he was therefore constrained to aban- 
don the enterprise. 

During the civil feuds of the revolution, and those that 
followed under the contested Leislerian administration, 
the Indian affairs of New York were neglected. Mean- 
time the New England colonies becoming involved in a 
war with the Eastern Indians, sent a deputation to Albany 



18 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, to invite the Five Nations to take up the hatchet in their 

w v — i cause ; but the invitation was declined. 

1687. rpj ie revo i u ti on which brought William and Mary upon 
the throne having been followed by war between England 
and France, the colonies were of course involved in the 
conflict ; whereupon Count Frontenac revived the policy 
of attempting to detach the Confederates from the English 
interest. To this end, through the efforts of a Jesuit 
residing among the Oneidas, all the Confederates save tho 
Mohawks were induced to meet the emissaries of the 
French in council at Onondaga. At the same time, with 
a view of making an unfavorable impression upon the 
Mohawks, as to the power of the English to defend their 
own settlements against the arms of the French king, 
a secret expedition was set on foot against Schenectady, 
which resulted in a frightful massacre of the slumbering 
inhabitants of that devoted town, on the night of the eighth 

1690. of February, 1690. But the Five Nations were neither 
won to the interests of the French by the persuasions of 
the agents at Onondaga, nor by the terrors of the scene 
at Schenectady. The veteran chief, Sadekanaghtie, an 
Onondaga orator of great eminence acted the skillful 
diplomatist at the council, while the Mohawks deeply sym- 
pathized with their suffering neighbors of Schenectady, 
and harrassed the invaders to good purpose on their 
retreat, — sending their war parties again into Canada, 
even to the attack once more of the island of Montreal. 

It required, however, as will often appear in the present 
work, the most unremitted attention of the government to 
maintain those close relations of amity with the Five Na- 
tions which were essential to the true interests and safety 
of the province. Their jealousies were far more easily 
awakened than allayed ; and unless continually caressed 
and propitiated by frequent largesses, they became rest- 
less and frowning. Hence, notwithstanding the alacrity 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 19 

with which the Mohawks had sought to avenge the mur- chap. 
ders of Schenectady, in February, 1690, the neglect they ^^^ 
experienced during the agitations attending and following 
the foul judicial murder of Leisler and his son-in-law, not 
only disaffected them tow T ard the English, but they even 
went so far as to send an embassy of peace to Count Fron- 
tenac. Meantime, in order to defeat this purpose, Colo- 
nel Sloughter, who had superseded Leisler in the govern- 
ment, 1 succeeded in holding a council with the four 1691. 
nations of the Confederates, exclusive of the Mohawks, 
which was attended by happy results, — the designs of 
the Mohawks, moved, probably, by a sudden impulse, 
being frustrated, and they themselves renewing their cove- 
nant chain. 

In order to maintain the advantages secured by these 
negotiations, and keep in action the hostile feelings of the 
Confederates against the French, Major Peter Schuyler, 
the white man of all others in whom the Five Nations 
reposed the greatest confidence, planned and executed his 
bold irruption through Lake Champlain into Canada 
during the same season, — defeating, with his Indians, De 
Callieres, governor of Montreal, and keeping the whole 

1 Colonel Sloughter was commissioned to the government of New York 
in January, 1689, but did not arrive until the nineteenth of March, 1691. 
The selection of Sloughter was not fortunate. According to Smith, lie was 
utterly destitute of every qualification for government; licentious in his 
morals, avaricious, and base. Leisler, who had administered (he govern- 
ment after a fashion, since the departure of Dongan, intoxicated with 
power, refused to surrender the government to Sloughter, and attempted 
to defend the fort in which he had taken refuge against him. Finding it 
expedient, however, very soon to abandon the fort, he was arrested, and, 
with his son-in-law Milburne, tried and executed for treason. Still, on 
the whole, the conduct of Leisler during the revolution had been consi- 
dered patriotic, and his sentence was deemed very unjust and cruel. In- 
deed, his enemies could not prevail upon Sloughter to sign the warrant for 
his execution, until, for that purpose, they got him intoxicated. It was a 
murdei-ous affair. Sloughter's administration was short and turbulent. 
He died July twenty-third, 1691. 



20 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Canadian country in constant alarm by frequent incur- 
*— v— ' sions of war-parties against the French settlements. Ae- 
' tive hostilities were likewise prosecuted by the Confede- 
rates against the French traders, and their posts, upon 
Lake Ontario. The celebrated Onondaga chief, Black- 
Kettle, one of the bravest and most remarkable warriors 
of his race, was the leader in that quarter. Being taken 
in the same year, he was put to death by the most fright- 
ful torments. 

On the death of Sloughter, Richard Ingoldsby, the cap- 
tain of an independent company, was made president of 
the council, to the exclusion of Joseph Dudley, who, but 
for his absence in Boston, would have had the right to 
preside, and upon whom the government would have , 
devolved. But although Dudley very soon returned to 
New York, he did not contest the authority of Ingoldsby, 
who administered the government until the arrival of 
Colonel Fletcher, with a commission as governor, in Au- 
1692. g us t, 1692. In the preceding month of June, Ingoldsby 
met the Five Nations in council at Albany, on which occa- 
sion they declared their enmity to the French in the 
strongest possible terms. Their expressions of friendship 
for the English were also renewed. "Brother Corlaer," 
said the sachem, "we are all the subjects of one great 
king and queen ; we have one head, one heart, one inte- 
rest, and are all engaged in the same war." They never- 
theless condemned the English for their inactivity, " tell- 
ing them that the destruction of Canada would not make 
one summer's work, against their united strength, if 
ingeniously exerted . ' ' * 

In conducting the Indian aflairs of the colony, Colonel 
Fletcher took Major Schuyler into his councils, and was 
guided by his opinions. 2 Kb man understood those affairs 

1 Smith's History of New York. 

2 Fletcher was by profession a soldier, a man of strong passions, and 
inconsiderable talents ; very active, and equally avaricious. His adminis- 




%W%i WWt$)$MTo 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 21 

better than lie ; and his influence over the Indians was so chap. 
' _ i. 

grout, that whatever Quider, 1 as they called him, either-— y— » 
recommended or disapproved, had the force of a law. This 
power over them was supported, as it had been obtained, 
by repeated offices of kindness, and his single bravery and 
activity in the defence of his country." Through the 
influence of Quider, therefore, Colonel Fletcher was 
placed upon the best footing with the Indians, by whom 
was conferred upon him the name of Cayenguinago, or 
" The Great Swift Arrow," as a compliment for a remark- 
ably rapid journey made by him from New York to 
Schenectady on a sudden emergency. 3 

Despairing, at length, of accomplishing a peace with l 693 - 
the Five Nations, Count Frontenac determined to strike 
a blow upon the Mohawks in their own country, — which 
purpose was securely executed in the month of February, 
1693. For once this vigilant race of warriors were taken 
by surprise, two of their castles being entered and cap- 
tured without much resistance — the warriors of both hav- 
ing been mostly absent at Schenectady. On assailing 
the third, or upper castle, however, the invaders met with 
a different reception. The warriors within, to the number 
of forty, were engaged in a war-dance, preparatory to 
some military expedition upon which they were about 

tration was so energetic and successful, the first year, that he received 
large supplies, and a vote of special thanks from the assembly. He was a 
bigot, however, to the Episcopal form of church government, and labored 
hard to encourage English churches and schools, and was shortly involved 
in a violent controversy with the assembly, who inclined rather to favor 
the Dutch churches. He was also unpopular because of his extravagant 
demands for money. He continued in the administration of the government 
until the year 1G95, inclusive. 

1 Quider, the Iroquois pronunciation of Peter. Having no labials in 
their language, they could not say Peter, 

2 Smith's History of New York. 

3 Colden's Six Nations. 



22 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, entering ; and though inferior in force, yet they yielded 
v-^— . not without a struggle, nor until thirty of the assailants 

1693. k a( j b een slain. About three hundred of the Mohawks 
were taken prisoners in this invason, in respect io which 
the people of Schenectady have been charged with bad 
conduct. They neither aided their neighbors, nor even 
apprised them of the approach of danger, although in- 
formed of the fact in due season themselves. But Quider, 
the fast friend of the Indians, took the field at the head 
of the militia of Albany, immediately on hearing of the 
invasion, and harassed the enemy sharply during their 
retreat. Indeed, but for the protection of a snow-storm, 
and the accidental resting of a cake of ice upon the river, 
forming a bridge for their escape, the invaders would have 
been cut off. 

The loss of the Mohawks by this incursion, added to 
dissatisfaction arising from the many unfulfilled promises 
made to them by the English, disheartened them so much 
that, in the spring of 1693, the Oneidas sued the French 
for peace, — ; a purpose which was frustrated only by the 
promptness of Fletcher's movements. A timely supply 
of presents for the Indians, received from England, enabled 
him to convene a council of the whole Confederacy at 
Albany, in July, and by a liberal distribution of arms and 
ammunition, knives, hatchets, and clothing, they were 
pacified, and, to use their own figure of speech, made "to 
roll and wallow in joy, by reason of the great favor the 
king and queen had done them." Yet, a Jesuit priest, 
resident with the Oneidas, named Milet, soon afterward 
succeeded in persuading all the nations, excepting the 
Mohawks, to open their ears to the propositions of certain 
emissaries dispatched upon the insidious errand to 
Onondaga. But the demands of the French, particularly 
for permission to rebuild the fort at Cadaraqui, were 
greater than the Indians were willing to concede, and 

1694. the war was renewed in 1694, during which year Count 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 23 

Frontenac sent an expedition of three hundred men chap. 
against such of the Five Nations as might be found in^v — > 
the region of the Niagara peninsula. Only a small num- 
ber of Indians were met with, some of whom were killed, 
and others made prisoners. These latter were taken to 
Montreal and tortured to death by tire. The Five Nations 
likewise, renewed their incursions into Canada, and the 
fate of their brethren was avenged by a holocaust, in 
which ten of their Indian captives were burnt. 

In the year 1696, the Count de Frontenac made a yet 1696. 
more formidable effort for the subjugation of the Five 
Nations. To this end, an army, consisting of two battal- 
ions of regular troops, four battalions of militia, together 
with the warriors of all the Indian tribes, under his in- 
fluence, was assembled, with which the count ascended 
the St. Lawrence to Cadaraqui, and crossing thence to 
Oswego, made a descent upon the Onondagas. But it 
was a bootless expedition. The Indians, apprised that the 
French were bringing several small pieces of artillery 
against them, before which they knew they could not 
stand, set fire to their principal towns, and retired with 
their women and children, and their old men, to their 
wilderness labyrinths. One only of their nation remained 
to receive the invaders, — an old man, whose head was 
whitened with the snows of a hundred winters. He re- 
fused to leave his lodge, and was put to death by torture, — 
dying as bravely as he had lived, and laughing to scorn 
the efforts by his tormentors to wring a groan or a murmur 
of complaint from his bosom. It is difficult to conceive 
how the officers of a civilized and gallant people, like the 
French, could have xjermitted such a murder. One would 
have thought that in admiration of his fortitude, his pa- 
triotism, and his courage, a hundred swords would have 
leaped from their scabbards for the defence of a venerable 
brave like him. But it was not thus ; and the death of 
the old sachem was the only exploit which crowned the 



24 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, last campaign of the Count de Frontenac against the in- 
* — v— ' domitable Iroquois. Not a single Onondaga captive was 
• ° ' made, and their conquest was a field of smouldering ashes. 
Subsequently, by treachery, thirty-five Oneidas were taken 
prisoners and carried into Canada ; but on the retreat of 
the army, the Onondagas fell upon its rear and cut off 
several bateaux. Nor was this all, the warriors of the Five 
Nations renewed their incursions, even to the gates of 
Montreal, and by tomahawk and fire caused another fam- 
ine in Canada. On the other hand, the scalping parties 
of the French and the Indians in their alliance, hung upon 
the skirts of the English colonies, infesting even the pre- 
cincts of Albany. 
1697. The peace of Ryswick, in 1697, put an end to these bar- 
barities. The Earl of Bellamont had by that time suc- 
ceeded Colonel Fletcher in the government of New York 1 
and some difficulties arose between his lordship and the 
French governor, in the negotiations that ensued for a 
mutual release of prisoners. In these negotiations the 
earl claimed the Iroquois as the subjects of, or depend- 
ents upon, the crown of Great Britain, — a claim in which 
Count Frontenac was by no means inclined to acquiesce. 
Pending these diplomatic proceedings, the count died, 
and the exchange of prisoners was effected by the Indians 

1 Richard, Earl of Bellamont, was appointed governor of New York, 
Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, in May, 1795, but did not arrive in 
New York until May, 1G98. He was appointed by King William with a 
special view to the suppression of piracy in the American seas — New York, 
at that time, having been a commercial depot of the pirates, with whom 
Fletcher, and other officers in the colony, had a good understanding. Kidd 
was fitted out with a ship by Bellamont, Robert Livingstone and others, in- 
cluding several English noblemen. Turning pirate himself, Kidd was after- 
ward arrested in Boston by the Earl, and sent home for trial. The Earl 
was a nobleman of polite manners, a great favorite of King William, and 
very popular among the people both of New York and Boston. He had 
been dissipated in his youth, but afterward became penitent and devout. 
He died in New York, in March, 1701. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 25 

themselves, without the earl's consent, leaving the (lis- chap. 
puted point unsettled. Still, the Five Nations declared ^ — - 
their continued attachment to Corlaer, and refused a 
residence at Onondaga to the Jesuit missionary Bruyas, 
who had acted as an ambassador in the negotiation. 

Nevertheless the French were far from relinquishing 1700 
their designs of supplanting the English in the affections 
of the Iroquois ; to which end so many Jesuit priests were 
introduced among them that in the year 1700 an act was 
passed by the provincial assembly for putting to death by 
hanging, every Popish, priest coming voluntarily within 
the bounds of the colony. 

In the spring of 1702, hostilities were again proclaimed 1702. 
by England against France and Spain. Happily, however, 
the Five Nations had just previously concluded a treaty of 
neutrality with the Canadian French, and the murderous 
border-forays incident to Indian hostilities, were not 
renewed. 

But even the terrors of the halter were insufficient to 
deter the Jesuits from communicating with the Five Na- 
tions, nor were their artful dealings with them persisted 
in without partial effect. The indications w T ere indeed 
such in the year 1708, as in the opinion of Lord Cornbury, 1 1708. 

1 Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, was the son of the Eai'l of Clarendon. 
On the death of Earl Bcllamont, the government devolved upon Mr. Nan- 
fan, the lieutenant-governor, until the appointment of Lord Cornbury, in 
1702. He was a very tyrannical, base, and profligate man, and was ap- 
pointed to the government of New York by King William, as a reward for 
his desertion of King James, in whose army he was an officer. He was a 
savage bigot and an ungentlemanly tyrant. He imprisoned several cler- 
gymen who were dissenters, and robbed the Rev. M. Hubbard, of Jamaica, 
of his house and glebe. He was wont to dress himself in women's clothes, 
and thus patrol the fort. His avarice was insatiable, and his disposition 
that of a savage. Becoming at length an object of universal abhorrence 
and detestation, he was superseded by the queen (Anne), who, in the au- 
tumn of 1708, appointed Lord Lovelace in his place. He was then thrown 
into prison by his creditors, where he remained until the death of his 
father, when he became Earl of Clarendon. He died in 1723. 
4 



26 LIFE OF SLR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, then at the head of the colony, to require such an appro- 
Wv— > priation as would enable him to meet them in council, 
' " and conciliate them with the needful presents. This 
timely measure was successful. The rusty spots upon the 
chain were again rubbed off; and in the succeeding year, 
through the indefatigable exertions of Colonel Schuy- 
ler, — Quider, — the Five Nations were engaged heart- 
ily in Colonel Nicholson's remarkable though entirely 

1709. abortive expedition for the subjugation of Canada, — an 
expedition the organization of which cost the colonies, — 
that of New York in particular, — a vast amount of money, 
and the failure of which caused deep and wide-spread 
mortification. 

1710. Colonel Schuyler was greatly beloved by the Five Na- 
tions, and having excited their expectations to a high 
pitch of enthusiasm in regard to the projected conquest 
of Canada, he felt keenly the miserable failure of Nichol- 
son's expedition. Still, distinctly perceiving the import- 
ance of effecting that conquest, and with a view, proba- 
bly, of diverting the attention of the Indians from their 
disappointment, he determined upon a voyage to England 
to represent the actual state of the country, in person, to 
the parent government. His views were seconded by the 
colonial assembly, and he took with him the five Iroquois 
chiefs whose appearance in the British capital created so 
great a sensation, according to the chroniclers of those 
days. 1 This visit was made in 1710. Schuyler returned 
with his chiefs in the autumn of the same year, — the lat- 
ter being highly gratified with their voyage, and their 
reception by the great queen, before whom they had 
strongly seconded the arguments of Quider for the 
speedy reduction of Canada, as the only effectual measure 
of peace and security to the northern English colonies. 

1711. In accordance with this advice, another expedition for 

1 Vide, one of the numbers of Addison's Spectator. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 27 

that object was undertaken in the next year — 1711 ; great chap 
preparations beihg made therefor, both by the parent gov- ^—s 

1 71 1 

ernment and the colonies. The French, aware of the 
design, were equally active in concerting measures of de- 
fence. The Indians in their immediate alliance were 
induced to take up the hatchet, and renewed attempts 
were made upon the fidelity of the Iroquois. No percept- 
ible impression was made upon their virtue, however; but 
the expedition resulted in another sad miscarriage, alike 
upon the land and the wave, — whereat the Confederates 
were greatly disheartened, and at length, under their re- 
peated disappointments, they again began to " open their 
ears " to the insidious counsels and persuasions of the 
French. Indeed, but for the peace of Utrecht, concluded 
in the spring of 1713, it was believed that the Senecas, 1713. 
and perhaps others of their Confederacy, would then have 
turned their arms upon the English. Yet one important 
point connected with the Indian relations of the English, 
was secured by this treaty, if no more. By its provisions 
the long contested question of English supremacy over 
the Five Nations and their territory, which in his negotia- 
tions with the Earl of Bellamont, Count Frontenac had 
refused to recognize, was conceded by the French. The In- 
dians of this Confederacy had previously, under the admin- 
istration of Colonel Fletcher, thrown themselves upon the 
English for protection, — as they likewise did again at a 
susbequent period, for the same object, — making a formal 
surrender of their country to the English ; not as an un- 
qualified cession, however, but to be held and protected 
by the crown for their use. In other words, the Indians 
seem to have supposed that they were investing the Eng- 
lish with a sort of superior jurisdiction over their territory, 
reserving to themselves their own distinct sovereignty in 
every other respect. 

Brigadier-General Hunter, who was appointed to the 
government of New York, as the successor of Lord Love- 



28 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, lace, was required to take no very active part in the In- 
— v— ' dian affairs of the colony. 1 The peace of Utrecht being 
' followed by several years of repose, the colonies were re- 
lieved from the terrible inflictions of Indian hostilities, — a 
species of warfare the most frightful that can be imagined, 
as well from its certain as from its uncertain character, — 
uncertain, always, when, or where, the dreaded enemy 
might strike, and equally certain that his path would be 
illumined by fire, and made red with blood. Meantime 
the Confederates, being likewise relieved from hostilities 
with the French, and the Indians in their interest, again 
directed their arms against their ancient enemies in the 
south, — ■-in the countries of the Carolinas and Georgia,— - 
among the Catawbas and the Cherokees, even to the head 
waters of the Mobile. The most powerful nation in the 
midlands of Carolina, were the Tuscaroras, kindred, as 
their speech testified, either of the Wyandots, or the Five 
Nations, or both. In either case, their language, having 
no labials, bore so strong an affinity to that of the Five 
Nations, that they were claimed by the latter as relations ; 
and with their own consent were transplanted to the north, 
within the bosom of the Iroquois Confederacy. It has 
been asserted by a high authority, that at a date so recent 
as the year 1708, the Tuscaroras possessed fifteen towns, 
and could count twelve hundred warriors as brave as the 
Mohawks. 2 This enumeration must have been erroneous, 
or else their numbers were rapidly diminished by pesti- 

1 John, Lord Lovelace, Baron of Hurley, appointed to supersede Lord 
Cornbury, entered upon the government of the colony on the 18th of De- 
cember, 1708. He died on the oth of May in the next year, of a disorder 
contracted in crossing the ferry at his first arrival in New York. His lady 
remained in New York many years after his death. On the death of his 
lordship, the government once more devolved upon Richard Ingoldsby, the 
lieutenant-governor of the colony, until the arrival of Governor Hunter, in 
the summer of 1710. 

2 Bancroft's History of the United States, Vol. iii. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 29 

lence or war, or by some other calamity, since at the time chap. 
of their transplantation, five years afterward, they were but' — ^— * 

1713 

a comparatively feeble clan. Yet they were counted as a 
nation ; and the Iroquois Confederacy was thenceforward 
called The Six Nations. 1 

General Hunter continued at the head of the colonial 1719. 
administration until the summer of 1719, when he went 
back to England on leave of absence, as well on account 
of his health, as to look after his private affairs. He inti- 
mated that he might return to the government again, but 
did not. 2 The chief command on his departure, devolved 
on the Hon. Peter Schuyler, as the oldest member of the 
council, but only for a brief period. He however held a 
treaty with the Six Nations at Albany, which was consi- 
dered satisfactory ; yet it would have been more so, had 
his efforts to induce the Confederates to drive Joncaire, 

1 The history of the Tuscaroras, and the manner or cause of their re- 
moval to the north, and their incorporation with the Iroquois Confederacy, 
are involved in doubt. According to some accounts, they are said to have 
been first conquered by the Five Nations, and then adopted among them 
because of discovered relationship. Dr. Colden says they fled to the Five 
Nations, before the arms of the people of Carolina. Smith gives a still 
different account of their southern locality, thus: " The Tuscaroras pos- 
sessed a tract of land near the sources of James river, in Virginia, whence 
the encroachments of the English induced them to remove, and settle near 
the southeast end of the Oneida lake." — Smith. 

2 Hunter was a Scotchman, and when a boy, an apprentice to an apothe- 
cary. Leaving his master, he entered the army, and being a man of wit 
and beauty, gained promotion, and also the hand of Lady Hay. In 1707 
he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Virginia, but being captured by 
the French on his voyage out, on his return to England he was appointed to 
the government of New York and New Jersey, then united in the same 
jurisdiction. Governor Hunter was the man who brought over the three 
thousand Palatines from Germany, who founded the German settlements in 
the interior of New York and Pennsylvania. Ho administered the govern- 
ment of the colony " well and wisely," as was said to him in an affection- 
ate parting address by the general assembly, until the summer of 1719, 
when he returned to England on leave, to look after his private affairs. 



30 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, the artful a^ent of the French, out of their country, been 

i. & . 

v_ v _' successful. This Jesuit emissary had resided among the 

1719- Senecas from the beginning of Queen Anne's reign. He 
had been adopted by them, and was greatly beloved by 
the Onondagas. He was incessant in his intrigues in be- 
half of the French, facilitating the missionaries in their 
progress through the country, and contributing greatly to 
the vacillating course of the Indians toward the English. 
Schuyler was aware of all this ; but notwithstanding his 
own great influence over the Six Nations, he could not 
prevail upon them to discard their favorite. In other re- 
spects the government of Schuyler was marked by mode- 
ration, wisdom, and integrity. 1 

1720. William Burnet, son of the celebrated prelate of that 
name who nourished in the reign of "William and Mary, 
succeeded to the government of the colony, in the year 
1720 ; and of all the colonial governors of New York, 
with the exception of Colonel Dongan, his Indian policy 
was marked by the most prudent forecast and the greatest 
wisdom. Immediately after the peace of Utrecht, a brisk 
trade in goods for the Indian market, was revived between 
Albany and Montreal, — the Caughnawaga clan of the 
Mohawks residing near Montreal serving as carriers. The 
chiefs of the Six Nations foresaw the evil and inevitable con- 
sequences to result from allowing that trade to pass round in 
that direction, inasmuch as the Indians would of course be 
drawn exclusively to Montreal for their supplies, to be 
received immediately at the hands of the French, — and 
they cautioned the English authorities against it. Mr. 
Hunter had indeed called the attention of the general as- 
sembly to the subject at an antecedent period; but no 
action was had thereon until after Mr. Burnet had as- 
sumed the direction of the colonial administration. The 
policy of the latter was at once to cut off an intercourse, 
so unwise and so dangerous, with Montreal, and bring the 



1 Smith's History of New York. 




WICSMM JBTinOlE'ff, 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 31 

entire Indian trade within the limits and control of New chap. 
York. To this end an act was passed at his suggestion, w^_ 
subjecting the traders with Montreal to a forfeiture of 
their goods, and a penalty of one hundred pounds for each 
infraction of the law. It likewise entered into the policy 
of Mr. Burnet to win the confidence of the Caughnawa- 
gas, and reunite them with their kindred in their native 
valle}'. But the ties by which the Roman priesthood had 
bound them to the interests of the French, were too strong, 
and the efforts of the governor were unsuccessful. 

In furtherance of the design to grasp the Indian trade, 1722. 
not only of the Six Nations, but likewise that of the 
remoter nations of the upper lakes, a trading post was 
established at Oswego in 1722. A trusty agent was also 
appointed to reside at the great council-fire of the Onon- 
dagas, — the central nation of the Confederates. A con- 
gress of several of the colonies was held at Albany, to 
meet the Six Nations, during the same year, which, among 
other distinguished men, was attended by Governor Spotts- 
wood, of Virginia, Sir William Keith, of Pennsylva- 
nia, and by Governor Burnet. At this council the chiefs 
stipulated that in their future southern war-expeditions 
they would not cross the Potomac, and in their marches 
against their southern enemies, their path was to lie west- 
ward of the great mountains — the Alleghanies meaning. 
Mr. Burnet again brightened the chain of friendship with 
them, on the part of New York, notwithstanding the ad- 
verse influences exerted by the Chevalier Joncaire, the 
Jesuit agent residing alternately among the Senecas and 
Onondagas. 

The beneficial effects of Mr. Burnet's policy were soon 
apparent. In the course of a single year more than forty 
young men plunged boldly into the Indian country as tra- 
ders, acquired their languages, and strengthened the pre- 
carious friendship existing between the English and the 
more distant nations ; while tribes of the latter previously 



32 LIFE OF SIR, WILLIAM JOHNSON, EART. 

chap, unknown to the colonists, even from beyond Michilimack- 
•— v— ' inac, visited Albany for purposes of traffic. 

The establishment of an English post at Oswego was a 
cause of high displeasure to the French, who, in order to 
intercept the trade from the upper lakes that would na- 
turally be drawn thither, and thus be diverted from Mont- 
real, determined to repossess themselves of Niagara, re- 
build the trading-house at that point, and repair their dila- 
pidated fort. The consent of the Onondagas to this 
measure was obtained by the Baron de Longueil, w r ho 
visited their country for that purpose, through the influ- 
ence of Joncaire and his Jesuit associates. But the other 
members of the Confederacy, disapproving of the move- 
ment, declared the permission given to be void, and dis- 
patched messengers to Niagara to arrest the procedure. 
With a just appreciation of the importance of such an 
encroachment upon their territory, the Confederates met 
Mr. Burnet in council upon the subject, at Albany, in 
1727. 1727. " We come to you howling," said the chiefs ; " and 
this is the reason why we howl, that the governor of Can- 
ada encroaches on our land and builds thereon." Gover- 
nor Burnet made them a speech on the occasion, beauti- 
fully expressed in their own figurative language, which 
gave them great satisfaction. 1 The chiefs, declaring them- 
selves unable to resist this invasion of the French, en- 
treated the English for succor, and formally surrendered 
their country to the great king, "to be protected by him 
for their use," as heretofore stated. But Governor Burnet 
being at that period involved in political difficulties with 
an assembly, too short-sighted, or too factious, to appreciate 
the importance of preserving so able a head to the colonial 
government, was enabled to do nothing more for the pro- 
tection of the Indians than to erect a small military de- 
fence at Oswego ; and even this work of necessity he was 
obliged to perform at his own private expense. Meantime 

1 Smith's History of New York. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BAHT. 33 

the French completed and secured their works at Niagara chap. 
without molestation. v — v— ' 

In the course of the same year, having been thwarted 1<27 - 
in his enlarged and patriotic views by several successive 
assemblies, Mr. Burnet, the ablest and wisest of the colo- 
nial administrators, retired from the government of New 
York, and accepted that of Massachusetts and New Hamp- 
shire. 1 Mr. Montgomery succeeded him in New York, in 
1728. He was an indolent man, and had not character 1728. 
enough to inspire opposition. The French, enraged at 
the erection of a fort at Oswego, were now menacing that 
post. The new governor thereupon met the Six Nations 
in council at Albany, to renew the covenant chain, and 
engage them in the defence of that important station. 
Large presents were distributed among them, and they 
declared their willingness to join the reinforcements de- 
tached from the independent companies for that service. 
Being apprised of these preparations, the French desisted 
from their threatened invasion. 2 

Much of the opposition to the administration of Gover- 
nor Burnet, had been fomented and kept alive by the Al- 
banians who, by the shrewdness of his Indian policy, and 

1 Governor Burnet was not only a man of letters, but of wit — a believer 
in the Christian religion, yet not a serious professor. A variety of amusing 
anecdotes has been related of him. AVhen on his way from New York to 
assume the government at Boston, one of the committee who went from 
that town to meet him on the borders of Rhode Island, was the facetious 
Colonel Tailer. Burnet complained of the long graces that were said be- 
fore meals by clergymen on the road, and asked when they would shorten. 
Tailer answered: 'The graces will increase in length till you come to Bos- 
ton ; after that they will shorten till you come to your government of New 
Hampshire, where your excellency will find no grace at all." 

2 Colonel John Montgomery succeeded Mr. Burnet in the government of 
the colonies of New York and New Jersey, in the month of April, 1728. 
He was a Scotchman, and bred a soldier. But quitting the profession of 
arms, he went into parliament, — serving also, for a time, as groom of the 
bed-chamber to his majesty George II, before his accession to the throne. 
He was a man of moderate abilities and slender literary attainments. He 
was too good-natured a man to excite enmities ; and his administration, 
cut short by death in 1731, was one of tranquil inaction. 

5 



34 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, the vigorous measures by which, he had enforced it, had 
•w^ — • been interrupted in their illicit trade in Indian goods with 

1728. Montreal, — and also by the importers of those goods re- 
siding in the city of New York. Sustained, however, by 
his council-board, and by the very able memoir of Doctor 
Colden upon that subject, Mr. Burnet, as the reader has 
already been apprised, had succeeded in giving a new and 
more advantageous character to the inland trade, while 
the Indian relations of the colony had been placed upon 
a better footing, in so far at least as the opportunities of 
the French to tamper with them had been measurably cut 

1729. off. But in December of the succeeding year, owing to 
some intrigues that were never clearly understood, all 
these advantages were suddenly relinquished by an act of 
the crown repealing the measures of Mr. Burnet ; reviv- 
ing, in eifect, the execrable trade of the Albanians, and 
thus at once re-opening the door of intrigue between the 
French and the Six Nations, which had been so wisely 
closed. 

1731. On the decease of Colonel Montgomery, the duties of 
the colonial executive were for a brief period exercised by 
Mr. Hip Van Dam, as president of the council. 1 His ad- 
ministration was signalized by the memorable infraction 
of the treaty of Utrecht, by the French, who then invaded 
the clearly denned territory of New York, and built the 
fortress of St. Frederick, at Crown Point, a work which 
gave them the command of Lake Champlain, — the high- 
way between the English and French colonies. The 
pusillanimity evinced by the government of New York on 
the occasion of that flagrant encroachment upon its 
domains, excites the amazement of the retrospective 
reviewer. Massachusetts, alarmed at this advance of the 
rivals, if not natural enemies, of the English upon the set- 
tlements of the latter, first called the attention of the au- 

1 Mr. Van Dam was an eminent merchant in the city of New York, " of 
a fair estate," says Smith, the historian, " though distinguished more for 
the integrity of his heart, than his capacity to hold the reins of govern- 
ment." 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 35 

thorities of JSTew York to the subject; but the information chap. 
was received with the most provoking indifference. There w^--> 
was a regular military force in the colony abundantly suf- 1731 - 
ficient, by a prompt movement, to repel the aggression ; 
yet not even a remonstrance was uttered against it. 

During the stormy administration of Colonel Cosby, 1732. 
from 1732 to 1736 inclusive, no attention whatever appears 
to have been directed to Indian affairs. The incessant 
quarrels of this weak and avaricious man with the people 
and their representatives, left him apparently no time to 
bestow upon the external relations of the colony ; and the 
Six Nations, in the absence of other employment, again 
resumed hostilities against their enemies at the South. 
One of their expeditions, directed against the Chickasaws, 
was fearfully disastrous. They fell into an ambuscade, 
and fought until all but two of a strong body of warriors 
were slain. One only of those two returned to rehearse 
the tale. He struck off' deep into the forest, and support- 
ing himself by game on the way, succeeded in traversing 
the whole distance back to his owri country without meet- 
ing a single human being during the journey. 1 Another 
expedition, yet stronger, was sent against the Catawbas 
and Cherokees. They met upon the banks of the Cum- 
berland river, now in Kentucky, at a place called " the 
bloody lands." Ascertaining that their enemies were ad- 
vancing to meet them, the Six Nations in turn drew them 
into an ambuscade, and a terrible battle followed, in which 
the southrons, after a contest of two days, were defeated, 
with a loss of twelve hundred braves killed on the field. 2 

These retrospective glances have now been brought down 1735 
to the year 1735 — the date of the arrival in America of 

1 Relation of General Schuyler to Chancellor Kent. Vide note in Kent's 
Commentaries, vol. iii. 

* Life of Afary Jinnix'P, the Seneca white woman. Hiockatoo, her hus- 
band, was in the battle. Still, the numbers feaid to have been killed may 
be an exaggeration. 



36 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, the extraordinary youth whose life will form a prominent 
^ — -subject of these memoirs. And although that individual 

1735. (j oeg no t j e i a pp ear U p n the theatre of public action, still, 
in order to the completeness of his " life and times," it 

n will be necessary henceforward to set forth both the Indian 
and the civil history of the colony With more fullness of 
detail than in the preceding pages. 

1736. On the demise of Colonel Cosby, 1 Mr. George Clarke, 
long a member of the council, after a brief struggle with 
Mr. Yan Dam for the precedency, succeeded to the direc- 
tion of the government ; and being shortly afterward com- 
missioned as lieutenant-governor, he continued at the head 
of the colonial administration from the autumn of 1736 
to that of 1743, — seven years. Mr. Clarke was remotely 
connected, by marriage, with the family of Lord Claren- 
don, — having been sent over as secretary of the colony 
in the reign of Queen Anne. Being, moreover, a man of 
strong common sense and of uncommon tact ; and by reason 
of his long residence in the colony, and the several offi- 
cial stations he had held, well acquainted with its affairs ; 
his administration, — certainly until toward its close, — was 
comparatively popular, and, all circumstances considered, 
eminently successful. In the brief struggle for power 
between himself and Mr. Van Dam, the latter had been 
sustained by the popular party, while the officers of the 
crown, and the partisans of Cosby, with few if any excep- 
tions, adhered to Mr. Clarke. 2 This difficulty had been 
speedily ended by a royal confirmation of the somewhat 

1 Colonel William Cosby, appointed to the government of New York in 
1732, had formerly been governor of Minorca, where he acquired no very 
enviable name by the scandalous and corrupt practices to which he was 
prompted by his avarice. His administration was turbulent and exceedingly 
unpopular, and deservedly so, for his conduct was atrocious. He died uni- 
versally detested, on the tenth of March, 1736. 

2 Mr. Van Dam had been privately, and, as he and his partisans contend- 
ed, illegally removed from the council-board by Cosby, in a fit of passion, 
almost upon his death-bed. Hence the struggle to which I have referred 
in the test. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 37 

doubtful authority assumed by Mr. Clarke. His own chap. 
course, moreover, on taking the seals of office, was con-^ / -' 
ciliatory. In his first speech to the general assembly he re- 1736> 
ferred in temperate language to the unhappy divisions which 
had of late disturbed the colony, and which he thought 
it was then a favorable moment to heal. The English 
flour-market being overstocked by large supplies furnished 
from the other colonies, the attention of the assembly was 
directed to the expediency of encouraging domestic manu- 
factures in various departments of industry. To the In- 
dian affairs of the colony, Mr. Clarke invited the special 
attention of the assembly. The military works of Fort 
Hunter being in a dilapidated condition, and the object of 
affording protection to the Christian settlements through 
the Mohawk valley having been accomplished, the lieu- 
tenant-governor suggested the erection of a new fort at 
the carrying-place between the Mohawk river and Wood 
creek, 1 leading into Oneida lake, and thence through the 
Oswego river into Lake Ontario ; and the transfer of the 
garrison from Fort Hunter to this new and commanding 
position. He likewise recommended the repairing of the 
block-house at Oswego, and the sending of smiths and 
other artificers into the Indian country, especially among 
the Senecas. 2 

These recommendations were repeated in the executive 1737. 

1 The site, afterward, of Fort Stanwix, — now the opulent town of Rome. 

2 In the course of this session of the general assembly, Chief Justice De 
Lancey, speaker of the legislative council, announced that his duties in 
the Supreme Court would render it impossible for him to act as speaker 
through the session. It was therefore ordered that the oldest counselor 
present should thenceforward act as speaker. Under this order, Doctor 
Cadwallader Colden first came to the chair. 

On the twenty-sixth of October, the council resolved that they should 
hold their sittings in the common council chamber of the City-Hall. The 
House immediately returned a message that they were holding their ses- 
sions, and should continue to hold them in that chamber ; and that it was 
conformable to the constitution that the council, in its legislative capacity, 
should sit as a distinct and separate body. 



OO LIFE OF SIR "WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, speech to the assembly in the spring of 1737, and also 
- — v — > again to a new assembly which had been called in the 
1/37. summer of the same year. The lieutenant-governor far- 
ther informed the new assembly that it had become neces- 
sary for him to meet the chiefs of the Six Nations in 
council at Albany in consequence of certain negotiations 
pending between the Senecas and the French, by virtue of 
which the latter were on the point of obtaining permission 
to erect a trading-post at Tierondequot, which would ena- 
ble them to intercept the fur-trade of the upper lakes on 
its way to Oswego. 1 

For the purpose of defeating this sagacious movement 
of the French, and if possible yet further to circumvent 
them by obtaining the like permission for the English to 
establish a trading-post at the same point, the meeting with 
the Confederate chiefs took place in Albany, as suggested 
in the speech. The objects of the interview, however, 
were only obtained in part. The Senecas agreed not to 
allow the French agent, John Coeur, to build at Tieronde- 
quot ; but neither would they permit the English to plant 
themselves there. Still they gladly acceeded to the propo- 
sition of the lieutenant-governor to send a gun-smith to 
reside among them, — with whom were also dispatched an 
interpreter, and three other agents, to assist in circum- 
venting the intrigues of the French. At the succeeding 
autumnal session of the assembly, these measures were 
sanctioned by that body, and provisions made for strength- 
ening Oswego, and for the farther promotion of commerce 
with the Indians. 2 



1 Irondequot, now well known as an inlet, or bay, a few miles east of 
the mouth of the Genesee river, — the place where Denonville landed in his 
memorable expedition against the Senecas, half a century before. 

2 Vide Legislative Journals, Also Smith's History of New York. At the 
session of the Assembly, October thirteenth, of this year, the council hav- 
ing sent a message to the house by the hand of a deputy clerk, a message 
was transmitted back, signifying that the house considered such a course 
disrespectful. Until that time, messages had been conveyed between the 
houses, with bills, resolutions, &c, by the hands of their members respect- 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BAKE. 3'3 

During the greater part of the year 1738 but little at- chap. 
tention was paid to Indian affairs,-— the principal historical > — ^ 
incident of that year being the memorable contested elec- 1/38 - 
tion between Adolphe Philipse and Gerret Van Home, in 
connection with which, owing to the extraordinary skill 
and eloquence of Mr. Smith, father of the historian, and of 
counsel for Van Home, the Hebrew freeholders of the city 
of JSTew York, from which place both parties claimed to 
have been returned to the assembly, were most unjustly 
disfranchised, on the ground of their religious creed, and 
their votes rejected. 1 The colony was greatly excited by 
this question, and the persuasive powers exerted by Mr. 
Smith, are represented to have been wonderful, — equal- 
ling, probably, if not surpassing, those of Andrew Ham- 
ilton, four years previously, in the great libel case of the 
Zengers,— r and possibly not excelled even by Patrick Hen- 
ry, a few years afterward, when he dethroned the reason 
of the court, and led captive the jury, in the great tobacco 
case in Virginia. 2 

Yet the movements of the Indians, and the designs of 
the French in Canada were not entirely overlooked. On 
the thirteenth of October, the general assembly being in 
session, the lieutenant-governor summoned the house be- 
fore him, and announced the receipt of intelligence of a 
design by the French, to establish themselves at the carry- 
ing-place upon Wood creek, between the head, or south- 



ively. The house considered the sending of a clerk an innovation upon 
their privileges ; and Col. Phillipse, Mr. Verplank, and Mr. Johnson, were 
appointed a committee to wait upon the council and demand satisfaction. 
The council healed the matter by a conciliatory resolution, declaring that 
no disrespect had been intended. 

1 For an animated account of this celebrated case, drawn, however, by 
the partial hand of a son writing of his father, see Smith's History, vol. ii. 

2 See Wirt's Life of Patrick Henry. 



40 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, ern end of Lake Champlain, and the Hudson river, 1 and 
v_^ — . calling for means to enable him to build a fort and plant 
1738 - a colony of settlers there for the defence of the northern 
frontier, to be composed of emigrants from North Bri- 
tain. 2 The lieutenant-governor also announced, in the 
same speech, that a delegation of the Senecas had de- 
parted for Quebec, to treat, as it was understood, with M. 
Beauharnois, then the governor of Canada, with a view, 
after all, of allowing the French to plant themselves in the 
beautiful valley of the Tierondequot, — a measure which, 
said the speech, "would put an end to the Oswego trade." 
In conclusion the lieutenant-governor asked for an appro- 
priation of money to enable him to frustrate their designs, 
and to make another effort for the purchase of the Tieron- 
dequot. The assembly having been suddenly dissolved a 
few days subsequent to the delivery of this speech, no 
steps were taken in reference to either of its recommenda- 
tions, and they were each pressed urgently upon the new 
assembly summoned in the spring of the next year, 1739. 

1 The Wood creek here mentioned is altogether a different stream from 
that spoken of a few pages back, at the Mohawk carrying-place, which 
leads into the Oneida lake. These duplicated names are apt to create 
confusion. The present town of Whitehall stands upon the Wood creek 
spoken of here in the text, which pours into Lake Champlain. 

2 The North Britons here spoken of, whom Mr. Clarke proposed coloniz- 
ing at the head of Lake Champlain, were a company of between four and 
five hundred adult Highlanders, with their children, who had been brought 
to the colony by Captain Laughlin Campbell, in the expectation of settling 
them upon a manor of thirty thousand acres of land, which he, Campbell, 
alledged had been promised him by the lieutenant-governor, — Campbell, 
who was a Highland chief, calculating to become, as it were, "lord of the 
manor." Smith roundly asserts that Clarke had stipulated to make the 
grant to Campbell ; but the statement was contradicted by Dr. Colden, who 
was at the time in question a member of the executive council. Certain it 
is, however, that Campbell had the emigrants with him in New York ; yet 
Colden says that many of them came out at their own expense, and that no 
more land had been promised to Campbell than he could bring into culti- 
vation. Be this as it may, the disappointment of the emigrants was great, 
and they suffered much keen distress before they could take care of them- 
selves. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 41 

The years 1738 and 1739, were marked by increasing chap- 
political excitement, and the dividing line of parties, in-v^^.^ 
volving the great principles of civil liberty on the one l 738 - 
side, and the prerogatives of the crown on the other, 
were more distinctly drawn, perhaps, than at any antece- 
dent period. The administrations of the earlier English 
governors, Nicholls and Lovelace, were benevolent, and 
almost parental. Andross, it is true, was a tyrant ; and 
during his administration parties were formed, as in Eng- 
land, upon the mixed questions of politics and religion, 
which dethroned the last and most bigoted of the Stuarts, 
and brought William and Mary upon the throne. Don- 
gan, however, the last of the Stuart governers in New 
York, although a Roman Catholic, was nevertheless mild 
in the administration of the government, and a gentleman 
in his feelings and manners. It was upon his arrival in 
the autumn of 1683, that the freeholders of the colony 
were invested with the right of choosing representatives 
to meet the governor in general assembly. 1 For nearly 
twenty years subsequent to the revolution of 1689, the 
colony was torn by personal, rather than political factions, 
having their origin in the controversy which compassed 
the judicial murder of the unhappy Leisler and his son- 
in-law Milbome. These factions dying out in the lapse 
of years, other questions arose, the principal of which 
was that important one which always, sooner or later, 
springs up in every English colony, — involving, on the 

1 Two years previous to the arrival of Dongan, the aldermen of New 
York, and the justices of the peace of the court of assize, in consequence 
of the tyranny of Andross, had petitioned the duke that the people might 
be allowed to participate in the affairs of the government by the construc- 
tion of a general assembly, in which they might be represented. Through 
the interposition of William Penn, who enjoyed the favor both of the king 
and the duke, the point was yielded, and Colonel Dongan was instructed to 
allow the people a voice in the government. Greatly to the joy of the in- 
habitants, therefore, who had become turbulent, if not disaffected, under the 
despotic rule of Andross, writs were issued to the sheriffs summoning the 
freeholders to choose representatives to meet the new governor in assembly 
on the seventeenth of October, 1683. 
6 



42 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, one hand, as I have already remarked, the rights of the 
«— v — ■ people, and on the other the claims of the crown. Inva- 
1738. r iably, almost, if not quite, the struggle is originated upon 
some question of revenue, — either in the levying thereof, 
or in its disposition, or both. Thus in the origin .of those 
political parties in ]N~ew York, which continued with 
greater or less acrimony until the separation from the 
parent country, Sloughter and Fletcher had both en- 
deavored to obtain grants of revenue to the crown for 
life, but had failed. Subsequently grants had been occa- 
sionally made to the officers of the crown for a term of 
years ; but latterly, especially during the administration 
of Governor Cosby, the general assembly had grown more 
refractory upon the subject, — pertinaciously insisting that 
they would vote the salaries for the officers of the crown 
only with the annual supplies. This was a principle which 
the governors, as the representatives of the crown, felt 
bound to resist, as being an infringement of the royal pre- 
rogative. Henceforward, therefore, until the colony cast 
off its allegiance, the struggle in regard to the revenue, 
and its disposition, was almost perpetually before the peo- 
ple, in one form or another ; and in some years, owing to 
the obstinacy of the representatives of the crown on one 
side, and the inflexibility of the representatives of the 
people on the other, supplies were not granted at all. Mr. 
Clarke, although he had the address to throw off, or to 
evade, the difficulty, for the space of two years, was never- 
theless doomed soon to encounter it. Accordingly, in his 
speech to the assembly at the autumnal session of 1738, 
he complained that another year had elapsed without any 
provision being made for the support of his majesty's go- 
vernment in the province, — the neglect having occured 
by reason of " a practice not warranted by the usage of 
any former general assemblies." He therefore insisted 
strongly upon the adoption of measures for the payment 
of salaries ; for the payment of the public creditors ; and 
for the general security of the public credit by the crea- 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 43 

tion of a sinking fund for the redemption of the bills of chap. 
the colony. ^— v— ' 

The assembly was refractory. Instead of complying 1738 - 
with the demands of the lieutenant-governor, the house 
resolved unanimously that they would grant no supplies 
upon that principle ; and in regard to a sinking fund 
for the redemption of the bills of credit afloat, they re- 
fused any other measure than a continuance of the exist- 
ing excise. These spirited and peremptory resolutions 
gave high offence to the representative of the crown ; 
and on the day following their adoption, the assembly 
was summoned to the fort, and dissolved by a speech, de- 
claring the said resolutions "to be such presumptuous, 
daring, and unprecedented steps that he could not look 
upon them but with astonishment, nor could he with 
honor suffer their authors to sit any longer." 

The temper of the new assembly, summoned in the 1739 - 
spring of the succeeding year, 1739, was no more in unison 
with the desires of the lieutenant-governor, than that of 
the former. The demand for a permanent supply bill 
was urged at several successive sessions, only to be met 
with obstinate refusals. The second session, held in the 
autumn, was interrupted in October, by a prorogation of 
several days, for the express purpose of affording the 
members leisure "to reflect seriously" upon the line of 
duty required of them by the exigencies of the country ; 
for, not only was the assembly resolutely persisting in the 
determination to make only annual grants of supplies, but 
they were preparing to trench yet farther upon the royal 
prerogative, by insisting upon specific applications of the 
revenue, to be inserted in the bill itself. Meantime, on the 
thirteenth of October, the lieutenant-governor brought the 
subject of his differences with the assembly formally be- 
fore his privy council. In regard to the new popular 
movement of this assembly, insisting upon a particular 
application of the revenues to be granted in the .body of 
the act for the support of the government, the lieutenant- 
governor said they had been moved to that determination 



44 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, by the example of New Jersey, where an act of that nature 
w^ had lately been passed. He was unwilling to allow any 
1739. encroachment upon the rights of the crown. Yet, in con- 
sideration of the defenceless situation of the colony, he 
felt uneasy at such a turn of affairs ; and not being dis- 
posed to revive old animosities, or to create new ones by 
another summary dissolution, he. asked the advice of the 
council. The subject was referred to a committee, of 
which the Hon. Daniel Horsmanden, an old member of 
the council, was chairman. This gentleman was one of 
the most sturdy supporters of the royal prerogative ; but, 
in consequence of the existing posture of affairs, and the 
necessity of a speedy provision for the public safety, the 
committee reported unanimously against a dissolution. 
They believed, also, that the assembly, and the peo- 
ple whom they represented, had the disputed point so 
much at heart that it would be impossible to do busi- 
ness with them unless it was conceded; and, besides, it 
was argued, should a dissolution take place, there was no 
reason for supposing that the next assembly would be less 
tenacious in asserting the offensive principle. Since, more- 
over, the governor of New Jersey had yielded the point, 
the committee advised to the same course in New York. 1 
The point ioas conceded ; and the effect, for the moment, 
was to produce a better state of feeling in the assembly. 
Supplies were granted, but only for the year ; and various 



1 See the old minutes of the executive or privy council, in manuscript, in 
the secretary of state's office in Albany. To avoid confusion hereafter, it 
may be well to state in this connection, that the council acted in a two-fold 
capacity: first, as advisary ; second, as legislative. "In the first," says 
Smith, in his chapter, entitled Political State, they are a privy council to 
the governor." When thus acting they are often called the executive or his 
majesty's council. Hence, privy council and executive council are synoni- 
mous. During the session of the legislature, however, the same council sat 
(without the presence of the governor) as a legislative council; and in 
such capacity exercised the same functions as the senate of the present 
day — so far as regards the passing of laws. The journals of this last or 
legislative council have recently been published by the state of New York 
under the supervision of Dr. E. B. O'Callaghan. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 45 

appropriations were made for placing the colony in a pos- chap. 
ture of defence. The Mohawks, among other things, re- ^~^~' 
quired either that the dilapidated defences of Dyiondaroga 1739 - 
(Fort Hunter) should be repaired or rebuilt, and that a 
garrison should be continued there, under a threat of 
leaving their own country and removing into Canada ; 
and they were considered of too much importance as a 
line of defence against the French, to allow their demand 
in this respect to be disregarded. 

But it is seldom that the wheels of revolution roll back- 
ward, and the concession which allowed the general as- 
sembly to prescribe the application or disposition of the 
supplies they voted, ever before claimed as the legal 
and known prerogative of the crown, appeased the popu- 
lar party only for a very short time. Indeed, nothing is 
more certain, whether in monarchies or republics, than that 
the governed are never satisfied with concessions, while 
each successful demand only increases the popular clamor 
for more. Thus was it in the experience of Mr. Clarke. It 
is true, indeed, that the year 1740 passed without any direct 1740. 
collision upon the question of prerogative ; although at 
the second short session of that year, the speech alleged 
the entire exhaustion of the revenue, and again demanded 
an ample appropriation for a term of years. But the con- 
troversy was re-opened at the spring session of the follow- 
ing year, — 1741,^-on which occasion the lieutenant-gov- 1741. 
ernor delivered a speech, long, beyond precedent, and 
enumerating the grievances of the crown by reason of the 
continued encroachments of the general assembly. The 
speech began by an elaborate review of the origin and 
progress of the difficulties that had existed between the 
representatives of the crown and the assembly, in respect 
to the granting of supplies, — evincing — such, indeed, is 
the inference, — a want of gratitude on the part of the 
latter, in view of the blessings which the colony had en- 
joyed under the paternal care of the government since 
the revolution of 1688. But it was not in connection with 
the supplies, only, that the assembly had invaded the 



£6 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, rights of the crown. It was the undoubted prerogative of 
v_^_^ the crown to appoint the treasurer. Yet, the assembly had 
1741 - demanded the election of that officer. Wot satisfied with 
that concession, they had next claimed the right of choos- 
ing the auditor-general. Failing in that demand, they had 
sought to accomplish their object by withholding the sala- 
ry from that officer. These encroachments, he said, had 
been gradually increasing from year to year, until appre- 
hensions had been seriously awakened in England " that 
the plantations are not without thoughts of throwing off 
their dependence on the crown." He, therefore, admon- 
ished the assembly to do away such an impression " by 
giving to his majesty such a revenue, and in such a man- 
ner, as will enable him to pay his own officers and serv- 
ants," as had been done from the revolution, down to the 
year 1709 — during which period the colony was far less 
able to bear such a burden than now. 1 

Thus early and deeply were those principles striking 
root in America, which John Hampden had asserted, and 
poured out his blood to defend, in the great ship-money 
contest with Charles I., — which brought that unhappy 
monarch to the block, — and which, — fulfilling the ap- 
prehensions of Mr. Clarke, — thirty-five years afterward, 
separated the colonies from the British crown ; — although 
in the answer of the house to the "insinuation of a sus- 
picion" of a desire for independence, with real or affected 
gravity, they " vouched that not a single person in the 
colony had any such thoughts; adding — " for under what 
government can we be better protected, or our liberties or 
properties so well secured?" 2 

The Indian relations of the colony were not forgotten 

1 Vide Journals of the Colonial Assembly, vol. i, Hugh Gaine's edition. 
This (1741), was the year in which the chapel, barracks, secretary's office. 
&c, of Fort George (the Battery), were burnt, and the speech referred to 
in the text, asked an appropriation for their rebuilding — but without sue 
cess. 

2 Smith, vol. ii. 






MM£t 

OBIIT JUNK 24. 1643 










Published by Arch? Kuilai-i.m .v c,, GUam 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 47 

at any time by Mr. Clarke. The Mohawks having re- chap. 
quested an appropriation for the rebuilding of their chapel, ^ — 
the attention of the assembly was invited to the subject, 1741# 
and the occasion was improved to bestow a well-deserved 
compliment to the English missionary among that people 
— the Rev. Mr. Barclay, who, it was said, a had opened a 
glorious prospect of spreading the Christian faith and 
worship throughout the Six Nations." 1 The assembly 
declined making the grant — alleging that if the Christian 
converts in that nation were increasing, the funds required 
for a new chapel should be raised by private contributions. 
But there were other considerations connected with the 
Indian policy, which it would not answer to neglect. War 
had been declared by the parent government against 
Spain ; and lively apprehensions were entertained of an 
approaching rupture with France. In anticipation of such 
an event, fortifications were required for the security of 
the harbor of New York, and also for the defence of the 
frontiers — particularly of Oswego, — to the importance of 
strengthening which the lieutenant-governor repeatedly 
called the attention of the assembly. In the event of a 
war with France, he was greatly apprehensive that this 
post would be taken, in which case there was reason to 
fear from the temper of late manifested by the Six Na- 
tions, that they would all fall away to the enemy. In this 
emergency, appropriations were asked to enable the lieu- 
tenant-governor to convoke a grand council of the Con- 
federates at Albany, which was accordingly held in the 

1 The missionary thus mentioned in the text, was the Rev. Henry Barclay, 
afterward a doctor of divinity, and rector of Trinity Church in the city of 
New York. He was a native of Albany, and a graduate of Yale College of the 
year 1734. He received orders in England ; and after several years' service 
in the Mohawk country, as a missionary, was called to New York. The 
translation of the litugy into the Mohawk language, was made under his 
direction, and that of Rev. W. Andrews and the Rev. J. Ogilvie. Mr. 
Ogilvie succeeded him both in the mission, and also, on his decease, in 
Trinity Church. Mr. Barclay died in 1765. 



48 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, month, of August. The lieutenant-governor's opening 
v— v — ; speech to the assemblage of sachems and warriors was 
both happily conceived and expressed — creditable alike 
to his head and his heart. After an apology for not hav- 
ing met them at an earlier day, in consequence of the 
prevalence of the small-pox in New York, the infection 
of which he was apprehensive might be conveyed among 
their people, he admonished them against the dangers 
arising from the propensity of their young warriors to 
join the Indians in the interest of the French, in their 
hostile expeditions against the more distant tribes of their 
own kindred. The enticing of their young men in those 
expeditions, he argued, was an artful device of the French 
to divide and weaken them. ""When united," said he, 
" you are like a strong rope, made of many strings and 
threads twisted together, but when separated, weak and 
easily broken. Thus they attempt to divide and weaken 
you, by leading your rash young men upon their distant 
wars. They nope so to weaken you by degrees, as by and 
by to be able to conquer you. If they were lovers of 
liberty themselves, they ought not to try to enslave other 
nations." 

It was doubtless owing in a great measure to this spe- 
cies of intercourse between the Iroquois and the Indians 
on the Canadian side of the line, that the former were so 
frequently disposed to join the French — a disposition re- 
quiring so many largesses, and so much tact and activity 
to counteract. The lieutenant-governor likewise drew a 
contrast between the tyrannical and overbearing conduct 
of the French toward the Indians, as compared with the 
liberal and humane treatment which the red-men had al- 
ways received at the hands of the English. Whether that 
contrast was in all respects a just one, it were bootless 
now to inquire. 

In the course of the speech, the lieutenant-governor 
attempted to impart to the sachems and warriors some 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 49 

wholesome lessons of filial piety, and to infuse into their chap. 
hearts some juster and loftier notions of true courage ■^~ Y —' 
than were prevalent among that rude people. He endea- ' ' 
vored to impress it upon their minds that wars upon wo- 
men and children were the opposite of brave, and that the 
scalps of such when brought in from the war-path, were 
the trophies of cowards. He also exhorted them to aban- 
don the cruelties practiced by their people in war — re- 
minding them that the cruelties they inflicted upon others, 
were sure in the end to be visited upon themselves in 
return ; and in again admonishing them against their 
associations with the French, he reminded them of the 
fact, that in some of their distant expeditions in company 
with the Indians in that interest, they had been compelled 
to strike the heads'of their own remote allies, and some- 
times it had been proved that they had struck down their 
own people — probably unawares. 

In connection with this intimacy with the French, Mr. 
Clarke complained that some of the Onondaga chiefs had 
even been to converse with the governor of Canada, after 
the council they were then holding had been summoned. 
Still, he thanked them for the disposition they had shown 
to keep the path open to the trading-post at Oswego, and 
complimented them for their wisdom in keeping the 
French from Tierondequot. In conclusion he informed 
them that he had it in charge from the great king their 
father, to negotiate a general peace among all the Indians, 
so that they, with all the red-men south and west to the 
great Mississippi, should form a mighty chain, strong and 
bright. This work, he said, he was determined to do. 

The sachems were shrewd in their replies. In regard 
to Oswego, they wished " their brother Corlaer, 1 would 

1 The name or title by which the Six Nations always designated the Eng- 
lish governors of New York. The original Colaer was a German trader 
greatly beloved by the Six Nations. He was drowned in Lake Champlain 
while on one of his trading trips. 
7 



50 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, make powder and lead cheaper there, and pay the Indians 
v-^_/ better for helping to build their houses." Of the Tieron- 
174L dequot matter they replied: "You said that we had acted 
very wisely in not suffering the French to settle at Tie- 
rondequot, and that if they only had liberty to build a 
fishing-hut there, they would soon build a fort. We per- 
ceive that both you and the French intend to settle that place, but 
ice are fully resolved that neither you nor they shall do it. There 
is a jealousy between you and the governor of Canada. If 
either should settle there it would breed mischief. Such near 
neighbors can never agree. We think that the trading- 
houses at Oswego and Niagara are near enough to each 
other." Touching the simile of the rope, they said it was 
their desire to make it strong by preserving friendship 
with as many nations as they could. "As our great father 
the great king has commanded us that we should be as 
one flesh and blood with the Indians to the southward and 
westward as far as the Mississippi, so we accept of them as 
brethren, that we may be united as one heart and one 
flesh, according to the king's commandment. But we 
desire that some of the sachems of those southern In- 
dians do come here, which will strengthen and confirm 
this treaty. We will give them two years time to come 
in, and in the mean time keep at home all our fighting 
men." 

In his rejoinder, the lieutenant-governor told them he 
could perceive no necessity for any meeting between them 
and the chiefs of the south and west. He was already 
clothed with power to conclude for them a general peace. 
He farther informed them that he had some presents from 
the governor of Virginia, but was instructed not to de- 
liver the articles unless they first received all the Indians 
under his majesty's protection into the covenant chain. 

The result of the conference, after the chiefs were made 
to understand that Corlaer was empowered fully to treat 
in behalf of the southern Indians, was, that they agreed to 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 51 

receive them all into the covenant chain, — adding : " and chap. 
we shall ever look upon them as our own brethren, and s- v— ' 
as our own flesh, as if they had been born and bred 
amongst us. And as we have never yet been guilty of 
violating treaties, so you may depend that we will keep 
this inviolable to the end of the wotfld." 1 

The council broke up amicably, and the Indians, well 
laden with presents, returned to their homes, professing a 
friendship for Corlaer which was to endure so long as the 
Great Spirit should cause the grass to- grow and the water 
to run. But however firm the grasp by which they pur- 
posed to hold on to their end of the covenant chain, their 
good resolutions were liable to be shaken by every trifling 
circumstance that awakened their unsl umbering jealousy, 
while the hold upon the affections of the Onondagas, Ca- 
yugas, and Senecas, which the Jesuits retained till the 
last, in all times of peril, rendered their constancy an ob- 
ject of doubtful solicitude in the minds of the English. 
Still, the pacification effected by Mr. Clarke contributed 
largely to the repose of the Six Nations for the two ensu- 
ing years, — 1741 and 1742. 2 The lieutenant-governor, it 



1 Unpublished minutes of the executive council, secretary of state's office, 
in Albany. 

2 In the manuscript journals of the privy council which have never been 
published, and which are only to be found in the office of the secretary of 
state in Albany, it is stated, under the date of May thirty-first, 1742, that 
the lieutenant-governor announced to the council-board that he had sum- 
moned the Six Nations to meet him in Albany, on the seventh of June; but 
that he had not been able to obtain the necessary funds from the treasurer to 
purchase presents for the Indians. The treasurer alledged that he had not 
the money nor could he obtain it. He Had, however, some other funds, to the 
amount of £600, which he offered to furnish toward the necessary supply. 
But the lieutenant-governor said he could not go unless an amount suffi- 
cient to answer the object could be procured. Whereupon Mr. Livingston 
offered to make the nocessary advance. It is not however certain that the 
council win held, since I have not been able to find :tny account of it either 
in the council minutes or elsewhere. 



52 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, is true, adverted to the defenceless condition of the Indian 
v_^_; frontiers occasionally in his speeches to the general assem- 
1741. kty ? especially to the important post of Oswego. But the 
popularity of Mr. Clarke was rapidly on the wane. Chief 
Justice De Lancy, the master spirit of the council, having 
rather abandoned him, and attached himself to the popu- 
lar party, managed to preserve a considerate coolness on 
the part of that body toward their executive head, while 
the house heeded but little his recommendations. 

The only subject of local excitement, however, during 
the year 1741, was the celebrated plot supposed to have 
been discovered on the part of the negroes, to murder the 
inhabitants of New York, and ravage and burn the city, — 
an affair which reflects little credit either upon the dis- 
cernment, or the humanity, of that generation. 

The burning of the public buildings, comprising the 
governor's residence, the secretary's office, the chapel and 
barracks, in March, 1741, — an occurrence which has al- 
ready been anticipated in a note to a preceding page, was 
first announced to the general assembly by the lieutenant- 
governor as the result of an accident, — a plumber, who 
had been engaged upon some repairs, having left fire in 
a gutter between the house and chapel. But several other 
fires occurring shortly afterward, in different parts of the 
city, — some of them, perhaps, under circumstances that 
could not readily be explained, suspicions were awakened 
that the whole were acts of incendiaries. Not a chimney 
caught fire, — and they were not at that day very well 
swept, — but the incident was attributed to design. Such 
was the case in respect to the chimney of Captain "War- 
ren's house, situated near the ruins of the public buildings, 
by the taking fire of which the roof was partially destroyed, 
and other instances might be enumerated. Suspicion, to 
borrow the language of Shakespeare, "hath a ready 
tongue," and is "all stuck full of eyes," which are not 
easily put to sleep. Incidents and circumstances, ordinary 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 53 

and extraordinary, were seized upon and brought together chap. 
by comparison, until it became obvious to all that there w v _ • 
was actually a conspiracy for compassing such a stupen- ' ' 
dous act of arson as the burning of the entire town and 
murder of the people. Nor was it long before the plot 
was fastened upon the negro slaves — then forming no in- 
considerable portion of the population. A negro, with 
violent gesticulation, had been heard to utter some terms 
of unintelligible jargon, in which the words "fire, fire, 
scorch, scorch," were heard articulated, or supposed to be 
heard. The crew of a Spanish ship, brought into the 
port as a prize, were sold into slavery. They were sus- 
pected of disaffection, as well they might be, and yet 
be innocent; seized, and thrown into prison. Coals 
were found disposed, as was supposed, for burning a hay- 
stack; a negro had been seen jumping over a fence, and 
flying from a house that had taken fire, in another place ; 
and in a word a vast variety of incidents, trifling and un- 
important, were collated, and talked over, until universal 
consternation seized upon the inhabitants, from the high- 
est to the lowest. As Hume remarks of the Popish plot 
in the reign of Charles II, " each breath of rumor made 
the people start with anxiety ; their enemies, they thought, 
were in their bosoms. They were awakened from their 
slumbers by the cry of Plot, and like men affrighted, and 
in the dark, took every figure for a spectre. The terror 
of each man became a source of terror to another. And, 
an universal panic being diffused, reason, and argument, 
and common sense, and common humanity, lost all influ- 
ence over them." 1 A Titus Oates w T as found in the per- 
son of a poor weak servant-girl in a sailor's boarding- 
house, named Mary Burton, who, after much importunity 

1 Quoted by Dunlap, who has given a good collection of facts respecting 
this remarkable plot, though not rendered into a well-digested narrative. 
See chapt. xxi, of his History. 



54 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, confessed that she had heard certain negroes, in the pre- 
■ — , — ' ceding February, conferring in private, for the purpose 
' of setting the town on fire. She at first confined the con- 
spirators to blacks ; but afterward several white persons 
were included, among whom were her landlord, whose 
name was Hughson, his wife, another maid-servant, and a 
Roman Catholic named Ury. Some other information 
was obtained from other informers, and numerous arrests 
were made ; and the several strong apartments in the City 
Hall, called "the jails," were crowded with prisoners, 
amounting in numbers to twenty-six whites and above 
one hundred and sixty slaves. 1 Numerous executions 
took place, upon the most frivolous and unsatisfactory tes- 
timony; but jurors and magistrates were alike panic- 
stricken and wild with terror. Among the sufferers were 
Hughson, his wife, and the maid-servant, as also the Ro- 
manist Ury, who was capitally accused, not only as a con- 
spirator, but for officiating as a priest, upon an old law of 
the colony, heretofore mentioned as having been passed 
at the instance of Governor Bellamont, to drive the French 
missionaries from among the Indians. " The whole sum- 
mer was spent in the prosecutions ; every new trial led to 
further accusations : a coincidence of slight circumstances 
was magnified by the general terror into violent presump- 
tions ; tales collected without doors, mingling with the 
proofs given at the bar, poisoned the minds of the jurors ; 
and this sanguinary spirit of the day suffered no check until 
Mary, the capital informer, bewildered by frequent exami- 
nations and suggestions, began to touch characters which 
malice itself dared not suspect." Then, as in the case of 
the Popish plot, and the prosecutions for witchcraft in 
Salem, the magistrates and jurors began to pause. But 
not until many had been sent to their final account by the 
spirit of fanaticism which had bereft men of their reason, 

1 Smith's History of New York, vol. ii, pp. 70, 75. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 55 

as innocent of the charges laid against them as the con- chap. 
victing courts and jurors themselves. Thirteen negroes- — „ — - 
were burnt at the stake, eighteen were hanged, and sev- L 
enty transported. 1 

1 Smith. Daniel Horsmanden, the third justice of the supreme court, 
published the history of this strange affair in a ponderous quarto. He was 
concerned in the administration of the judicial proceedings, however, and 
wrote his history before the delusion had passed away. Chief Justice De 
Lancey presided at least at some of the trials ; and he, too, though an able 
and clear-minded man, was carried away by the delusion. 



CHAPTER II, 

1742— 1744. 

chap. Yew names in the colonial history of the United States, 
v— v — ' have descended to the present day with greater renown, 
1/42 than that of Sir William Johnson, Bart. Yet, notwith- 
standing its frequent occurrence in the annals of his times, 
and its intimate association with the public affairs of the 
country during the period of nearly forty years immedi- 
ately preceding the American revolution, it may well be 
questioned whether the life and character of any other 
public man, equally distinguished, have been so inade- 
quately appreciated, or so imperfectly understood. Com- 
ing to America at the instance of a relative, when, if not 
a mere youth of fifteen, he was certainly a very young 
man, he threw himself boldly into the wilderness, and 
with but little assistance, became the architect of his own 
fortune and fame. From the subordinate station of an 
agent in charge of the landed property of his relative, he 
became successively a farmer, a dealer in peltries, a mer- 
chant, a government contractor, a general in the armies 
of his adopted country, and a baronet of the British 
realm, — possessed of an estate of great value, and tran- 
scending* in extent the broadest domains of the nobles of 
his parent-land. The hero alike of veritable history and 
of romance, his actual career being withal more romantic 
by far than any of the tales which the writers of fiction 
have succeeded in inventing for him, his character, — from 
the wild border-life which he led, and from his associa- 
tions, both in civilized life and as connected with the In- 
dians, and the wonderful influence he acquired over the 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 57 

latter, — has been invested, both in books and by tradition, chap. 
with qualities strange and undefinable, — such indeed as> — ^— • 
are believed to have appertained to no other man of his 1742 - 
own, or of any other age. 1 

William Johnson, — afterward Sir "William Johnson, 
Bart., was the eldest son of Christopher Johnson, Esquire, 
of Warren town, county of Dowm, Ireland,— of a family 
ancient in its descent, and honorable in its alliances. His 
mother was Anne Warren, sister of the brothers Oliver 
and Peter, — afterward Sir Peter Warren, K. B. — whose 
names are identified with the naval glory of England. 
The Warrens were of an old and honorable family, pos- 
sessing an estate in the county of Down from the first 
arrival of the English in Ireland. Oliver Warren, the 
eldest son of his father, was a captain in the royal navy, 
and served with reputation during the reigns of Queen 
Anne and George the First. 2 Peter, the youngest son, 
having been trained to the nautical profession under the 
immediate eye of his brother, was appointed in the sum- 
mer of 1727, to the command of the Grafton, one of the 
four ships of the line sent out under Sir George Walton, 
to join Sir Charles Wager, then in the Mediterranean 
command. Captain Warren did not long continue in the 
Grafton, having been soon after his arrival at Gibraltar, 
transferred to the Solebay frigate, for the purpose of car- 
rying to the West Indies the orders of the king of Spain 



1 See the admirable satire by Charles Johnson, entitled Chrysal, or the 
Adventures of a Guinea; vol. iii, book ii, chapters 1, 2, and 3. The 
Dutchman's Fireside, by Paulding ; and also The Gipsey, by G. P. R. James ; 
to say nothing of minor tales and romances. ^Neither of the writers of the 
first mentioned three works appears to have understood the true character 
of Sir William Johnson. The satire in Chrysal is a gross exaggeration of 
the errors in the baronet's life. Paulding's exaggerations are equally great 
in another respect ; while the delineation attempted by James is an utter 
failure. 

2 MSS. of Sir William Johnson. 

8 



58 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, for executing the preliminaries of peace agreed upon be- 
^— v— - tween that monarch and Great Britain. He sailed upon 
1742, this service in May, 1728 ; and having executed the com- 
mission with which he was charged, in pursuance to his 
instructions, he sailed from the West Indies to South Caro- 
lina, — returning to England in the following year. Im- 
mediately on his arrival he was appointed to the Leopard, 
of fifty guns, one of the fleet which during the years 1729 
and 1730, rendezvoused at Spithead, under the command 
of Sir Charles "Wager. Captain Warren commanded the 
Leopard until after 1735, in which year he accompanied 
Sir J. IsTorris to Lisbon. 

This account of the earlier service of Sir Peter Warren, 
after his promotion to the command of a ship, has been 
drawn from Charnock's Biographia JNavalis, and is con- 
ceived to be at least not irrelevant, from the relations 
which subsisted between him and the immediate subject 
of these memoirs. During the period under considera- 
tion, and long afterward, the domicil of Captain Warren 
was in the city and colony of New York 1 He married the 

*The dwelling-house No. 1, Broadway, formerly the residence of Na- 
thaniel Prime, and now (1864), the Washington Hotel, was built by Cap- 
tain Warren. Neither pains nor expense were spared to make it one of 
the finest mansions in this country. The plans were all sent out from Lis- 
bon. The exterior and interior being similar in every respect to that of 
the British ambassador residing at the Portuguese capital. The house 
was fifty-six feet on Broadway, and when erected, the rear of the lot was 
bounded by the North river. Greenwich street was not then opened or 
built — the North river washed the shore. One room of this edifice de- 
serves particular notice, being the banqueting room, twenty-six by forty, 
and was used on all great occasions. After the British forces captured New 
York, in the war of the American revolution, being the most prominent 
house, it was the head-quarters of the distinguished British commanders. 
Sir William Howe, Sir Henry Clinton, and Sir Guy Carlton, afterward 
Lord Dorchester, all in succession occupied this house, and it is a memo- 
rable fact that the celebrated Major Andre, then adjutant-general of the 
British forces, and aid to Sir Henry Clinton, resided in this house, being 
in the family of Sir Henry, and departed from its portals never to return, 




I, . 1 1,1- I -'"■■■ 









//v- ' 



/ 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 59 

sister of James De Lancey, long the chief justice of the chap. 
colony, and for several years lieutenant-governor. 1 I have • — , — • 
not been able to ascertain the time when Captain Warren 
came to America to reside. Equally difficult, among con- 
flicting authorities, is the task of fixing upon the date of 
his nephew's arrival in this country. No farther mention 
is made of Captain Warren in the naval history of Eng- 
land from the time of his sailing to Lisbon, in 1735, until 
after the rupture with Spain, when, in the year 1741, he 
was in command of the Squirrel, a twenty-gun ship, on 
the American station. 

It seems hardly probable, from the age of Warren, and 
from the active service in which he was engaged, that he 
could have settled in America at an earlier period than 
the year 1735. He was born in 1704, and was conse- 
quently but twenty-three years of age when appointed to 
the command of the Grafton. 

William Johnson, his nephew, was born in the year 
1715. According to Doctor Dwight, as written in his 
travels, and according to the biographical dictionaries also, 
Mr. Johnson was called to America by his uncle, Sir 
Peter Warren, in the year 1735, to superintend a large 
estate which the latter, shortly after his marriage, had 
purchased in the Mohawk valley. I have besides an 
old manuscript, furnished by the Sammons family of 

when he went up the Noiih river, and arranged his treasonable project 
with the traitor Arnold at West Point. 

1 The name of James De Lancey will be of frequent recurrence in the 
progress of this work. He was the son of Stephen De Lancey, a French 
Huguenot gentleman from Caen, in Normandy, who fled from persecution 
in France. Settling in New York in 1686, he married a daughter of M. 
Van Courtlandt, and was thus connected with one of the most opulent fami- 
lies in the province. He was also an active member of the house of assem- 
bly during the administration of Governor Hunter. His son James was 
sent to Cambridge Uuiversity (England), for his education ; and bred to 
the profession of the law. On being elevated to the bench, such was his 
talents and application, he became a very profound lawyer. 



60 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Johnstown, which states that the young adventurer came 
*_ v _ /to America with Captain Warren at the age of fifteen. 
1742. Neither of these dates, however, is correct, as Johnson 
himself distinctly states in a letter written to the lords of 
trade under date of October thirteenth, 1764, that he came 
to America in the year 1738. Johnson was then twenty- 
three years of age ; and his arrival must have been shortly 
after the weak and turbulent administration of Governor 
Cosby. Although in the letter to the lords of trade just 
cited, the writer does not state the season of the year in 
which he came to America, yet it was probably in the 
spring, since in the fall of 1738, he was already settled in 
the Mohawk country and had begun the cultivation of his 
land. The document of the earliest date whichlhave found 
among the Johnson manuscripts, is a letter from Captain 
"Warren to his nephew, whom he familiarly addresses 
as " Dear Billy. ," It was dated at Boston, November 
twentieth, 1738, at which place the captain probably 
passed several months, since he suggested a shipment of 
wheat, corn, and other farming produce, to be made by 
his nephew from Albany to his order in Boston, early in 
the following spring. 

The estate purchased by Captain Warren in the Mo- 
hawk country, heretofore alluded to, consisted of a tract 
of land lying on the south side of the river, near the junc- 
tion of the Mohawk and Schoharie kill, called Warrens- 
bush. From the letter just cited, it appears that young 
Johnson was engaged in the double capacity of forming a 
settlement upon the lands of his uncle, and bringing lands 
into cultivation for himself — keeping, also, though upon 
a small scale, a country store, in which his uncle was a 
partner. But the means of neither of the parties could 
have been great at that time ; such at least is the inference 
from the letter, which is long, and abounds in many details 
and directions, in what was evidently at that time a com- 
paratively limited business. The captain writes : "I have 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 61 

received yours of the twenty-sixth and thirtieth of October, chap. 
and am glad to hear that you are in health, and go on wy-. 
briskly with your settlements." Respecting the means 1 ' 42, 
for prosecuting the enterprise, the letter says: "I am 
sorry you have been obliged to draw for more on New 
York than I directed ; but as it is, I presume, for goods 
that will bring part of the amount in again, I am not dis- 
pleased with it ; yet I will not go beyond two hundred 
pounds per annum in making the settlement, and that to 
be complete in three years from your first beginning, 
which will make the whole six hundred pounds. I desire 
in your next you will let me know how much you have 
had from New York in money and goods." Sailor that 
he was, the captain understood the policy of cutting his 
patent into small farms. "The smaller the farms," he 
remarks, " the more the land that will be sold, and the 
better the improvements will be." The captain had also 
some taste for horticulture: "I hope you will plant a 
large orchard in the spring. It won't hinder your Indian 
corn, nor grass, as you will plant your trees at a great dis- 
tance." He had likewise taste and forecast on the sub- 
ject of clearing lands: "As you have great help now, 
you will girdle many acres ;* in doing which I would be 
regular, and do it in square fields, leaving hedge-rows at 
each side, which will keep the land warm, be very beauti- 
ful, and subject you to no more expense than doing it in a 
slovenly, irregular manner." This prudential suggestion 

1 " Girdling trees," is a preliminary process often adopted in the clearing 
of wild land, which facilitates the labor by relieving the ax-man of a part 
of his labor. The operation consists in making a deep circular cut around 
the trunks of the trees of any magnitude, which draws off the sap, and 
causes the tree to die in the course of a couple of years. The trunks and 
limbs of the trees, becoming dry, are then readily subject to the action of 
fire, and the foresters are thereby often relieved of much heavy labor ; while 
by the absence of the foliage, the earth has already been partially warmed 
by the sun, and is in respect of decaying roots rendered much easier of 
cultivation. 



62 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, in favor of leaving hedge-rows of trees and shrubs for or-' 
^— v — ( nament, proves that Captain Warren had not yet imbibed 
* that vandal taste so characteristic of the early Anglo- 
American proprietors, inducing them to think that the 
finest country, and most beautiful, from which the timber 
and every verdant object has been most carefully removed. 
The following passage from the letter, shows that the pa- 
tron and his nephew were in a kind of partnership, in the 
mercantile line. After enumerating various articles of 
goods, of small amounts, which the captain had ordered 
from England and Ireland, the letter proceeds : " You see 
you will have a pretty good cargo. The whole proceeds 
of it must be remitted as soon as possible, to be laid out 
again, till you with your increase will have a very large 
store of goods of all kinds proper for the country. Pray 
let me know what rum, and all things sell for there, such 
as axes, and other wrought iron. These I would send 
from hence ; if I found the profit great, I would soon have 
a thousand pounds worth of goods there." The following 
sentence indicates that the nephew had already com- 
menced the fur-trade, which he afterward prosecuted to 
a great extent, and doubtless to great profit: "As for 
what skins you can procure, I will send them to London, 
and the produce of them shall be sent you in proper 
goods." Captain Warren, as already stated, was brother- 
in-law to James De Lancey, afterward chief justice of the 
province and subsequently lieutenant-governor. But the 
date of his marriage I have not been able to ascertain. It 
must, however, have been some years before that of the 
letter under consideration ; for in this the captain re- 
marks : " My wife and two daughters are very well." The 
letter concludes thus , "I will send for books for you to 
keep your accounts, which you must do very regularly. I 
have no more to add at this time but my service to all 
friends and to wish you well. Captain Nelson, who, I 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 63 

hear, is going to Fort Hunter, 1 lias been so kind as to chap. 
promise to spare you some muskets for your house. If w v — - 
he be there, my service to him. Keep well with all man- 1742 ' 
kind. Act with honor and honesty. Don't be notional, 
as some of our countrymen are often foolishly; and 
don't say anything of the badness of the patroon's horses, 
for it may be taken amiss. He is a near relation of my 
wife, and may have it in his power very much to serve 
you. 2 Get the best kind of fruit-trees for the orchard, if 
they cost something more, and a good nursery would not 
be amiss. My love to Mick. Live like brothers, and I 
will be an affectionate uncle to you both. 

P. WAKREK" 

Who was "Mick," I do not know, but his name occurs 
twice. The letter itself forms a singular medley, in which 
matters of every description are set down without arrange- 
ment, just as they came into the mind of the writer. I 
have made the greater use of it not only because it is the 
only manuscript I have been able to obtain from a man 
who afterward became illustrious in the service of his 
country, but also because that while it sheds a few glimpses 
of light upon a portion of his own private life, it affords 
authentic information as to the comparatively humble be- 
ginnings of one, whose career in after-life filled so wide a 
space in the public eye, and whose name is of such fre- 
quent and honorable record in the history of his adopted 
country. 

Other testimony to the same point might be adduced, 
were it necessary. I have a manuscript, giving some ac- 

1 Fort Hunter was at the mouth of the Schoharie kill, — the site of the 
lower castle of the Mohawks. The Indian name of the place was Dyionda- 
rogon. 

2 Mr. De Lancey through the Van Courtlandt family was connected with 
that of the patroon of Albany. Hence the relationship referred to in the 
text. 



64 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, count of Sir "William's life, furnished by the late Thomas 
v-^-/ Sammons, who in his boyhood knew the baronet. It 
17i ' 2 - speaks of his humble beginning at Warrensbush, but dates 
his settlement there in 1734, at the age of nineteen ; which, 
for reasons already stated, must have been at least four 
years too early. According to this authority, young John- 
son was wont to ride to mill, on horse-back, with very in- 
different equipments, to Caughnawaga, on the opposite or 
north side of the river, distant from Warrensbush fifteen 
miles. He showed himself a man of enterprise from the 
first, clearing a large farm for himself, erecting a store- 
house, and immediately opening a trade with the white 
inhabitants and also with the Indians. His style of living 
was plain, and his industry great. His figure was robust, 
and his deportment manly and commanding. Yet he 
made himself very friendly and familiar among the peo- 
ple, with whom he mingled in their rustic sports, and 
speedily became popular. Of this fact he was not uncon- 
scious himself. In a letter to his uncle, dated May tenth, 
1739, he says : "As to my keeping in with all people, you 
may assure yourself of it, dear uncle, for I dare say I have 
the good will of all people whatsoever, and am much re- 
spected, — very much on your account, — and on account 
of my own behaviour, which I trust in God shall always 
continue." 

Young Johnson likewise succeeded, beyond all other 
men, in winning the confidence and affection of the Mo- 
hawk Indians, whose most considerable town, Dyiondaro- 
gon, was but a few miles distant. His trade with them 
had already become considerable, and the spirit of enter- 
prise which was rapidly to raise him to fortune, was mani- 
fested in the letter to his uncle just cited, wherein he thus 
early spoke of opening a trading-house at Oghkwaga, 1 — a 

1 It is a perplexing matter to fix the orthography of Indian names, either 
of men, or places, or things. For example, this place is now usually 



LIFE OF SLR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 65 

settlement of the Six Nations on the Susquehanna river, ghap. 
some two hundred miles south of the Mohawk. The ad- -^-v— > 
vantages of a trading expedition to Oghkwaga he thought ■ ' 
better than were offered at Oswego, where there were 
already a parcel of mere sharpers in the trade. It appears 
farther by this letter, that Mr. Johnson had given offence 
to his uncle by the purchase of a lot of land, on the oppo- 
site side of the river, to which his patron was apprehen- 
sive he might remove. From the description, or rather 
the tenor of the nephew's letter in reply, the purchase was 
of the lot upon which he subsequently settled, known to 
this day as Mount Johnson, and where the old massive 
stone mansion erected by him yet stands. But Mr. John- 
son protested to his uncle that he had no design of remov- 
ing to his new purchase, having made it, he said, for the 
purpose of securing a valuable water-power, on which he 
proposed to erect a saw-mill, that would be certain to yield 
a profit of full forty pounds per annum. 

In regard to the early education of Mr. Johnson, I have 
succeeded in obtaining no satisfactory information. It is 
presumed that he did not receive the advantages of a uni- 
versity course of instruction ; while the presumption is 
equally strong that he had enjoyed the benefit of some 
classical school where other languages than the English 
were taught. I have found among his private correspond- 
ence, letters addressed to him both in French and Latin, 
which were filed away with endorsements in his own hand- 
written Oquago. The Rev. Mr. Hawley, however, a missionary to the In- 
dians, and a cotemporary of Sir William Johnson, in his journal to this 
place, spells it Onohoghgwage. I have adopted, in the Life of Brant, from 
his own manuscript, the orthography given above in the text. The place 
and river now known as Unadilla, are spelt by Mr. Hawley, Teyondel- 
hough. By Brant it was contracted to Tunadilla. The large creek flow- 
ing into the Susquehanna some teu or fifteen miles south of Cooperstown, 
called Otego, was written by Mr. Hawley, Wauteghe ; which is the better 
Indian. 

9 



66 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, writing, always in the language in which the letters them- 
- — , — ■ selves were respectively written. And it will subsequently 
17 appear from the invoices of books ordered for his private 
library from his correspondents in London, in the days of 
his prosperity, that his selections indicated not only a 
mind of considerable cultivation, but also of a scientific 
turn. There is yet greater difficulty in fixing the date of 
his marriage, or giving any satisfactory account of the 
family with which he became thus connected. It is be- 
lieved that he married young, probably about 1740, — cer- 
tainly in the earlier years of his residence in the Mohawk 
country, — and the object of his choice is supposed to have 
been a young German woman by the name of Catherine 
Wisenberg, a plain country girl of no social position, but 
gifted with good sound sense, and a mild and gentle dis- 
position. 

Having thus introduced to the reader the principal bio- 
graphical subject of these memoirs, with some of his fam- 
ily connections, it is necessary for the preservation, as far 
as may be, of chronological order, to resume again the 
thread of Indian history, at the point of its termination in 
the preceding chapter. 

In the summer of 1742, the Six Nations, by a large del- 
egation of counselors, chiefs, and warriors, numbering in 
all upward of seventy persons, visited Philadelphia to hold 
a treaty with their brother Onas, governor of Pennsylva- 
nia. 1 It appears that by an antecedent treaty, the Six Na- 
tions, claiming the country of the Delawares by right of 
conquest, had released to Onas their claim to all the lands 
on both sides of the Susquehanna, from the Endless moun 
tains, or Kittochtinny hills, to the southern boundary of 
Pennsylvania. At the time of making that relinquish 

1 Onas, in the Iroquois language, signifies a Pen, and was the title by 
which William Penn was addressed by the Indians, and the governors who 
succeeded him. 



--V 



Sfc.j 



mff 



/. 






/' 



.1 ,\ .'•! E§ l,D l i.;\7 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 67 

merit, they had received payment in goods, for the terri- chap. 
tory ceded on the east side of the river; but preferred < — „ — - 
waiting for the balance due for the lands on the other side ' ' 
until a more convenient season. It was for the purpose 
of closing that negotiation, therefore, that the council of 
1742 was convened. The deputation was headed by the 
celebrated Onondaga counselor, Canassateego, — one of 
the ablest orators and wisest sachems of his race, — and 
by the Cayuga chief Shicolamy, or Shikellimus, father of 
the famous Logan, who was afterward immortalized by 
Mr. Jefferson, in his Notes on Virginia. Shicolamy was at 
that period residing with a clan of his people at Shamo- 
kin. It was the policy of the Iroquois Confederacy, in ac- 
cidental conformity with that of the Romans, to plant 
military colonies in the countries they conquered, and that 
at Shamokin was one of them. Deputations were also 
present from the Shawanese, then residing at Wajomick, 
or Wyoming; from the JSTantikokes, who had removed 
from the eastern shore of Maryland to the southern ex- 
tremity of the "Wyoming valley ; from the Delawares ; and 
from the Canestogoes, — a clan of the Oneidas, planted in 
Central Pennsylvania. The interpreter was Conrad Wei- 
ser, a faithful man, enjoying the fullest confidence of the 
Indians, and long in the service of Pennsylvania in her 1737. 
intercourse with the Six Nations. 1 

The governor, or rather the lieutenant-governor of 
Pennsylvania, under the proprietaries at that time, was 
Mr. George Thomas, a man of talent and resolution, who 
managed the Indian affairs of the colony for several years 
with excellent tact and address. The Indians were re- 
ceived by Mr. Thomas and his council at the house of the 
then venerable James Logan, the learned and philosophic 
friend and cotemporary of William Penn. Mr. Logan had 

1 Weiser was of German blood, a native of Schoharie, in the colony of 
New York. 



68 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, preceded Mr. Thomas in the colonial administration, as 
<~r^-< president of the council. He had long been a man of 
1742, distinction in the colony, and enjoyed the unbounded re- 
spect and confidence of the Indians. This reception took 
place on the second of July, and the council was continued 
from day to day until the twelfth. 

The proceedings of the first day were rather informal, — 
being confined to an exchange of salutations, and to cer- 
tain explanations which the sachems desired to make. In 
the first place, they disclaimed a certain sale of land which 
some of their " foolish young men," when out upon a 
hunting expedition, had made, or pretended to make, to 
a few individuals, for a very small number of strouds, — 
the sale conflicting with a previous contract of the Con- 
federacy with their brother Onas. The sachems had 
wrested the strouds from the young men, and now pro- 
duced them that they might be returned to those who had 
made the invalid purchase. Another explanation which 
they desired to make, or rather which had been required 
of them by Mr. Thomas, related to the murder of two or 
three white people sOme time before, by a returning war- 
party of Twightwees, or Miamies, which murders had 
been accidentally detected by the Shawanese, through 
whose town they were passing, when scrutinizing the 
scalps they had taken. The Twightwees, said Mr. Thomas, 
had sent a message that " their hearts were full of grief" 
when they heard that "the road had been made bloody" 
by some of their young men, "with the blood of white 
people;" and the Shawanese had sent a message "that 
they would sweep the road clean and wipe all the blood 
away;" desiring that their white brethren "would be sat- 
isfied with this, and not weep too much for a misfortune 
that might not happen again as long as the sun and moon 
shone." The governor expressed a wish that the Six Na- 
tions might take up the matter, ascertain the facts of the 
case, and obtain satisfaction for the outrage. The chiefs 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 69 

promised to consider the subject on their return home, chap. 
and send an answer. > — r— * 

The times being critical, and another French war sup- 1<4 ~" 
posed to be unavoidable, it was deemed advisable by Gov- 
ernor Thomas and his counselors, to endeavor to sound 
the Indians, and ascertain if possible what would be their 
probable temper and disposition in such an event. A 
grand entertainment was therefore provided for them, 
with the design of extracting their sentiments in the flow 
of the wine-cup, — upon the well known principle, "in 
vino Veritas." It happened that although the deputation 
was numerous, there were no representatives from the 
Mohawks, and but three from the Senecas, — the most 
powerful nation by far, of the Confederates. Mr. Thomas 
approached the object at which he was aiming warily, by 
inquiring why so few Senecas were present, since they 
were equally interested with the others in the business 
that had called them together. The answer of Canassa- 
teego was prompt and painfully satisfactory. " The Sene- 
cas," he said, "were in great distress on account of a 
famine that had raged in their country, which had reduced 
them to such want that a father had been obliged to kill 
two of his children to preserve his own and the rest of his 
family's lives." Their situation, therefore, was such that 
they could not attend the council, but the necessaiy in- 
structions had been given in regard to their share of the 
goods. The lieutenant-governor next, with seeming care- 
lessness, inquired whether any of the Seneca chiefs were 
in Canada, and whether the governor of Canada was mak- 
ing any warlike preparations. Both questions were ans- 
wered in the affirmative ; whereupon Mr. Thomas play- 
fully remarked : " "Well, if the French should go to war 
with us, I suppose you would join them?" Canassateego 
was evidently not put off his guard by the apparent indif- 
ference of the querist, and therefore did not reply until 
after a brief consultation with his people. He then said, 



70 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, frankly, that the French governor was paying great court 
v— v — - to the Indians, and had informed them that he was unco- 
vering the hatchet and sharpening it ; but at the same 
time he had told them that if he was obliged to lift it up 
against the English, he hoped they would not espouse the 
cause of either side, but remain neutral. The orator, how- 
ever, assured his brother Onas, that in the event of a war, 
they should be faithful and true to their old allies, and 
lift the hatchet in their cause, adding : " The governor of 
Canada talks a great deal, but ten of his words do not go 
so far as one of yours ; we do not look toward them ; we 
look toward you, and you may depend on our assistance." 
Yet it will be seen hereafter that when the crisis came, 
great reluctance was manifested by the Confederates to 
engage in the contest. 

At the next subsequent meeting in council, after having 
delivered the goods which the Indians had come to re- 
ceive, Mr. Thomas opened the subject of the probable rup- 
ture with France, with more directness. It was his de- 
sire, he said, in the event of a war, that the road between 
the English and the Indians, should be kept clear and 
open. More fuel should then be added to the fire between 
them, that it might burn brighter and clearer, and give a 
stronger light, and more lasting warmth. " "We must hear 
with our ears for you, and you must hear with your ears 
for us," — terms all significant, and well understood by 
these metaphor-loving sons of the forest. Nor were they 
employed without effect. Having taken a day for consid- 
eration, Canassateego replied to the speech of the lieuten- 
ant-governor at length, and in regard to the threatening 
storm, to the entire satisfaction of the English, and with 
the seemingly cordial assent of his dusky associates. 

In discussing the business matters which they had as- 
sembled specially to consider, the Onondaga orator, though 
prepared fully to confirm the prior contract for the sale of 
the lands on the western side of the Susquehanna, — but 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 71 

how far west does not appear, the terms in the records of chap. 
the council being quite indefinite, — had nevertheless com- - — , — < 
plaints to make, as has ever been the case on such occa- 
sions, of the encroachments of the white people upon their 
lands. " The pale-faces think we do not know the value 
of our lands," said the veteran counselor; but we are sen- 
sible that the land is everlasting, and the few goods that 
we receive for it are soon worn out and gone. The speci- 
fic complaint adduced by Canassateego, was, that the 
white people were settling all along the banks of the Ju- 
niata river, — one of the large western tributaries to the 
Susquehanna, — " to the great damage of our cousins, the 
Delawares." This encroachment had been the ground of 
a complaint before ; and Mr. Thomas now replied that 
magistrates were then sent expressly to remove the tres- 
passers. " Those persons who were sent did not do their 
duty," interposed Canassateego. "So far from removing 
the people, they made surveys for themselves, and they 
are in league with the trespassers!" A common occur- 
rence, I believe, in the great catalogue of Indian wrongs. 

But the most interesting historical incident during the 
sittings of this council, affording proof at once of a dis- 
puted fact, and an illustration of Indian character, occur- 
red toward its close. Mr. Thomas had complained at one 
of their meetings that a clan of the Delawares, residing at 
the forks of the Delaware river, had not only refused to 
yield the occupancy of a tract of land which had been sold 
to William Penn fifty-five years before, but had presumed 
to make sales of some portions of the same lands, — not- 
withstanding that their fathers had made the treaty with 
Penn, and received the value of the sale ; and notwith- 
standing also that they themselves had subsequently rati- 
fied the treaty anew. It was in reply to this statement of 
Mr. Thomas, that Canassateego uttered a speech of bitter 
and biting reproof of the Delawares, in which he reminded 
them in terms of severity of their subjugated condition. 



72 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. "You," said he, "you take it upon yourselves to sell 
v_^_, land !" " You don't know what ground you stand upon !" 
1742. u You ought to be taken by the hair of your head and 
shaken till you recover your senses, and become sober!" 
" We conquered you, We made women of you. You 
know you are women, and can no more sell land than 
women !" This speech, which was full of indignant irony 
and invective, was closed by a peremptory order for the 
Delawares to remove forthwith from the disputed terri- 
tory, either to Shamokin, or Wyoming, as they might pre- 
fer. The following was the closing injunction of the man- 
date: "After our just reproof and absolute order to 
depart from the land, you are now to take notice of what 
we have further to say to you. This string of wampum 
serves to forbid you, your children and grand-children, to 
the latest posterity forever, from meddling with land 
affairs ; neither you, nor any who shall descend from you, 
are ever hereafter to presume to sell any land. For which 
purpose you are to preserve this string, in memory of 
what your uncles have this day given you in charge. We 
have some other business to transact with our brethren, 
and therefore depart the council, and consider what has 
been said to you." 

The obedience of the Delawares to the order was as prompt 
as the mandate itself was summary, — some of them going 
to Shamokin, but the greater number settling at Wyo- 
ming, on the eastern side of the Susquehanna, — a large 
clan of the Shawanese residing at that time on the west- 
ern side opposite. This transaction sufficiently proves the 
state of abject subjection to which the Delawares had been 
reduced, and in which at that time they were held by the 
Iroquois, notwithstanding the efforts of the benevolent 
Heckewelder to sustain a loftier position for his favorites 
among the aborigines. 

In the course of the proceedings at this treaty, while 
complaining of the trespasses of the white men upon the 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 73 

lands along the Juniata, Canassateego uttered a further chap. 
complaint "that some parts of their country had been>— v — • 
taken up by persons whose place of residence is south of 
this province (Pennsylvania), and from whom we have 
never received any consideration." It was their desire 
that Mr. Thomas should "inform ' the person ' whose peo- 
ple were thus seated on those lands, that that country be- 
longs to us, in right of conquest, we having bought it 
with our blood r and taken it from our enemies in fair 
war;" and, in their behalf, require compensation for it. 
It was understood by Mr. Thomas and his board of coun- 
selors, that this complaint was directed against the gover- 
nor and people of Maryland ; and a letter was addressed 
to the former upon the subject. But from the vague and 
indefinite terms in which the Indian counselor had spo- 
ken, — referring to the aggressors only as "persons living 
south of Pennsylvania," — the government and people of 
Virginia by some means became impressed with the idea 
that the illusion was pointed at them. 

An unlucky occurrence in December following strength- 
ened this impression. It appeared from a communication 
addressed to Lieutenant-Governor Clarke, by Mr. Gooch, 
lieutenant-governor of Virginia, that in the month of De- 
cember, a body of Indians had made an incursion into the 
frontier county of Augusta in that colony, and committed 
some very serious outrages, — killing several people, and 
carrying away numbers of cattle and horses. The invaders 
were pursued by' a small body of Virginia militia, com- 
manded by Captains M'Dowell and Buchanan, and over- 
taken on the eighteenth of December, when a smart en- 
gagement ensued, — the Indians having commenced the 
fight by shooting down a messenger of peace who was ap- 
proaching them with a flag. The action lasted about 
forty-five minutes, during which eleven of the Virginians 
were killed, among whom was Captain M'Dowell. The 

Indians fled, leaving eight or ten of their warriors dead 
10 



74 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, upon the field. Such was the magnitude of the affair, and 
»— v — - such its result, as stated to Lieutenant-Governor Clarke by 
Mr. Gooch. The Virginians alleged that there were 
several white men with the Indians, believed to be French. 
Mr. Gooch stated that the affair had occurred at an unfor- 
tunate moment, since at that very time he was preparing 
to send a friendly deputation to meet the Six Nations ; 
and being uncertain whether these hostile Indians might 
not belong to that Confederacy, he was in doubt what 
course to pursue. Under these circumstances he requested 
the assistance of the authorities of New York, in enabling 
him to ascertain whether the aggressors belonged to the 
Six Nations. He also desired Mr. Clarke to ask the chiefs 
of the Six Nations where the land in Virginia was, to 
which they had referred in the Philadelphia council as 
belonging to them. 
1743. The communication from Mr. Gooch was forwarded to 
the Indian commissioners at Albany, on the fifth of April, 
with instructions to adopt the necessary measures for ascer- 
taining the facts. 1 Should it prove true that the outrages 
had really been committed by the Six Nations, in conse- 
quence of any dispute with Virginia about their lands, the 
Indians were to be rebuked for the adoption of such a 
barbarous course. They ought rather to have sought an 
adjustment by treaty, as they had done with Pennsylvania 
and Maryland. Had they adopted such a course, the gov- 
ernor of New York would cheerfully have aided them in 
the negotiation. The commissioners hacl previously heard 
of the Virginia affair, from the Mohawks, who stated that 
the Indians were feeling very uneasy upon the subject. 
On the receipt of the dispatches, therefore, Mr. Jacobus 

1 The board of Indian commissioners at that time consisted of the follow- 
ing persons, viz : Captain Rutherford, Cornelius Cuyler, Myndert Schuy- 
ler, Hendrick Ten Eyck, Peter Winne, Rutger Bleecker, Nicholas Bleecker, 
John De Peyster, Ryer Garretson, Dirck Ten Broeck and John Lansingh. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 75 

Bleecker, a competent interpreter, was sent to Onondaga, chap. 
where a council had already been convened to receive a^ v -_/ 
deputation from Philadelphia. The errand of these mes- 1<43- 
sengers, however, was merely to invite the chiefs to make 
another visit to Pennsylvania. But the invitation was de- 
clined by the chiefs expressly upon the ground of what had 
happened at the south. They sent word that " they could 
not come this year, but would do so the next." 

The contents of Mr. Gooch's letter having been com- 
municated to the chiefs and sachems, they gave quite a 
different version to the story. They denied that they were 
preferring any claims against Virginia for lands. Their 
warriors, they said, had been first fired upon by the Vir- 
ginians, and four of their number killed. In return for 
which they had killed eight of the Virginians, and se- 
verely wounded two more. There were no white men in 
the party, which consisted of thirty warriors, twenty-six 
of whom had returned. They thanked the commissioners 
for the efforts they were making to have the difficulty ad- 
justed, as they hoped it would be. Still, apprehending 
the possibility of a war as the consequence of the affray, 
they had sent messages to the Ottawas, and their friends 
at the west, to remain at home, and be prepared to aid 
them in the event of hostilities. 

Mr. Clarke's council, to whom the papers connected 
with these transactions were communicated, on the seven- 
teenth of April, were by no means satisfied with the ex- 
planations of the Indians, nor with the proceedings of the 
commissioners, against whom they more than insinuated 
a lack of energy. They wrote back that the interpreter 
should have been instructed to demand why the war party 
went to Virginia? Why they had killed some of the peo- 
ple, and carried away horses .and cattle before the battle ? 
Why they had killed the man who was approaching them 
with a signal of friendship? The council thought the 
Indians were dealing with subtilty in this matter, and 



76 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



chap, insisted that they ought to be told explicitly that they 
»— v — ' were breaking the covenant chain whenever they killed 
' any of his majesty's subjects, no matter in which of the 
colonies. Yet if the Indians disclaimed all knowledge of 
the murders, and their abhorrence of the act, and would 
restrain their young men from such unwarrantable expe- 
ditions hereafter, the council hoped that the governor of 
Virginia would come to such a temper as would enable 
them to heal the breach. In regard to the land-claim to 
which Mr. Gooch had referred, the council thought the 
inference was warranted from the undeterminate phrase- 
ology of Canassateego's speech at Philadelphia, although 
some had supposed that Maryland, not Virginia, was in- 
tended. However, it was necessary that the commission- 
ers should inform the Six ^Nations that such outrageous 
acts against any of his majesty's colonial settlements, must 
be put an end to. The Indians themselves had com- 
plained to Mr. Bleecker, the interpreter, of the intrigues 
of the French ; and it was evident to the mind of the 
council, that in order to put a termination to those out- 
rages, the emissaries of the French must be prevented 
from coming among them. 

The consequence of this letter to the commissioners, 
was another embassy in May to the Six Nations, in coun- 
cil at Onondaga, with a more peremptory message. In 
reply to which the Indians again explicitly disclaimed any 
claim to land in Virginia. In regard to the unhappy oc- 
currence in Virginia, they denied with solemnity that any 
people had been killed before their braves were fired upon 
thrice by the soldiers of M'Dowell and Buchanan. Their 
young men were going on a fighting expedition to the 
south when the affair happened, — but not to fight against 
the Virginians. They had only taken a few cattle on their 
way, and they thought the Virginians had treated them 
too severely by following and firing upon them for so 
small an offence. They regretted the occurrence ; but it 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 77 

was out of the power of the chiefs to prevent their young chap. 
warriors from occasionally going off' upon such expedi-' — , — • 
tions. In transmitting this reply, the commissioners wrote 
to the council that the Indians were really anxious for a 
reconciliation. They thought great good would ensue, 
were Mr. Gooch to come and meet them himself; and it 
would he yet better if some of the chiefs of those remote 
southern Indians, against whom the Six Nations had been 
so long at war, could he persuaded to come also and meet 
them in council. A general peace might then be effected, 
whereas it was now almost impossible for the chiefs to re- 
strain the formation of war parties among the scattered 
Indians residing at a distance from their castles, notwith- 
standing the stipulations of peace negotiated by Mr. 
Clarke at the council of 1740. 

A pacific letter, giving the results of these conferences 
with the Indians was written to Mr. Gooch by Mr. Clarke ; 
and at the earnest solicitation of the latter, the matter 
seems to have been pressed no farther. 

The administration of Lieutenant-Governor Clarke was 
ended in the autumn of 1743, by the arrival of Admiral 
George Clinton, uncle of the earl of Lincoln, and a 
younger son of the late earl, who had been appointed to 
the government of New York through the interest of his 
friends, to afford him an opportunity of mending his for- 
tunes. Mr. Clarke, who in the commencement of his ad- 
ministration had succeeded in conciliating the leaders of 
both political parties, had contrived before the close of 
his career to lose the confidence of both, — so that his re- 
tirement from the government was regarded with univer- 
sal satisfaction. 1 Especially had he incurred the resent- 

1 George Clarke, Esq., who, in various official stations was for almost 
half a century connected with the colonial government of New York, was 
an Englishman by birth. ' ; His uncle, Mr. Blaithwait, procured the secre- 
taryship of the colony for him early in the reign of Queen Anne. He had 



1743. 



78 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, ment of the chief justice, De Lancey; who, strangely 
' enough, though usually a staunch supporter of the pre- 
rogatives of the crown, had now become to some extent a 
favorite of the general assembly. The new governor had 
spent the most of his life in the navy ; and, according to 
the earliest English historian of New York, " preferring 
ease and good cheer to the restless activity of ambition, 
there wanted nothing to engage the interest of his power- 
ful patrons in his favor, more than to humor a simple- 
hearted man, who had no ill nature, nor sought anything 
more than a genteel frugality and common civility, while 
he was mending those fortunes, until his friends at court 

genius, but no other than a common writing-school education; nor did ha 
add to his stock by reading, for he was more intent upon improving his 
fortune than his mind. He was sensible, artful, active, cautious ; had a 
perfect command of his temper, and was in his address specious and civil. 
Nor was any man better acquainted with the colony and its affairs." He 
successively held the offices of secretary, clerk of the council, counselor, 
and lieutenant-governor ; and from his official position he had every op- 
portunity of enriching himself by obtaining grants and patents of land — 
which, from his knowledge of the colony he was enabled to choose in the 
most advantageous locations. He was a courtier, and was careful never 
to differ with the governors of the colony ; although during Cosby's stormy 
career, he usually kept himself quiet at his country villa upon the edge of 
Hempstead plains. " His lady was a Hyde, a woman of tine accomplish- 
ments, and a distant relation of that branch of the Clarendon family. She 
died in New York. Mr. Clarke returned to England in 1745, with acquisi- 
tions estimated at one hundred thousand pounds. He purchased an estitio 
in Cheshire, where he died about the year 1761. George Clarke, his grand- 
son, and the heir to his estates, after a residence in America of about thirty- 
five years, died at Otsego, about the year 1835. His eldest son, Geoii <• 
Hyde Clarke, with his young wife, was lost in the ship Albion, wrecked on 
the coast of Ireland, in the summer of 1820, on his passage from New York 
to England. His second son then returned to England, and entered into 
possession of the fortune of his father's estates situated in that country. 
By the vast increase in price of his American lands, Mr. Clarke's estates in 
this country became of princely value before his death. They are in- 
herited by his youngest son, George Clarke, Esq., who now (1843), resides 
in the noble mansion erected by his father a few years before his decease, 
upon the margin of Otsego lake. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 79 

could recall him to some indolent and more lucrative sta- chap. 

ii. 

tion." 1 ■ — v — ■ 

Mr. Clinton arrived in New York on the twenty-second 
of September, and was received with demonstrations of 
universal satisfaction by the people. Finding that the 
general assembly stood adjourned to meet in a few days, 
and ascertaining that the people would be pleased with an 
opportunity of holding a new election, the assembly was 
dissolved on the. twenty-seventh and writs for the return 
of another assembly issued the same day. 2 The elections 
were conducted without political acrimony, and all the old 
members, with but seven exceptions, were returned. The 
session opened on the eighth of November. Meantime 
the governor had fallen into the hands of De Lancey, who 
doubtless had the moulding of his excellency's speech. 
Its tone was conciliatory, although the sore subject of a 
permanent revenue was opened afresh. But this was done 
in gentle terms, the governor asking for a grant " in as 
ample a manner, and for a time as long, as had been given 
under any of his predecessors." The assembly was in- 
formed that owing to the critical state of affairs in Europe, 
and the doubtful attitude in which Great Britain and 
France stood toward each other, a large supply of military 
stores for the defence of the colony had been received 
from the parent government ; and the governor hoped the 
assembly would show their thankfulness by making an 
adequate provision for the purchase of others. The usual 
recommendations in regard to the Indian intercourse of 
the colony were renewed, and an appropriation was asked 
for rebuilding the barracks, and public offices, together 
with the house of the governor, which had been destroyed 
by fire. The latter recommendation was insisted on 

1 Smith's History of New York, vol. ii, page 85. 

2 Idem. 



80 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, as being necessary for the comfort of the governor's 

>— v — i family. 

"An humble address" was voted by the council in re- 
ply, drawn up by De Lancey. The appointment of the 
new governor was received " as an additional evidence of 
his majesty's affection for his people, and his zeal for the 
liberty of mankind, lately most evidently demonstrated in 
his exposing his sacred person to the greatest dangers in 
defence of the liberty of Europe." 1 In all other respects 
the answer was an echo of the speech. The address of 
the house was more than an echo, — it was couched in lan- 
guage of excessive flattery to the new governor, and of fawn- 
ing adulation toward the sovereign, who was designated 
"the darling of his own people, and the glorious preserver 
of the liberties of Europe." There was, however, a dis- 
position on all sides to be pleased. The assembly re- 
sponded to the demanded appropriations, — voting the 
governor fifteen hundred pounds for his salary, one hund- 
red pounds for house rent, four hundred pounds for fuel 
and candles, one hundred and fifty pounds to enable him 
to visit the Indians, and eight hundred pounds for the 
purchase of presents to be distributed amongst them^ 
Other appropriations were made upon a scale of corres- 



1 The battle of Dettingen, in Germany, in which the British troops and 
their allies obtained a brilliant victory over a powerful division of the army 
of the Mareschal de Noailles, commanded by the Duke de Grammont. The 
English troops, commanded by the Earl of Stair, were joined by the Duke 
of Cumberland, to make his first campaign, and by his majesty (George II), 
on the ninth of June. The English with their allies, were moving, on the 
twenty-sixth of June, toward Hanau, to obtain supplies, and to join the 
Hanovarians and Hessians, when they were met in a difficult position by 
the French, thirty thousand strong. The king behaved very gallantly in 
the engagement, exposing his person to a severe fire of cannon as well as 
musketry. He rode between the first and second lines with his sword 
drawn, and encouraged the troops to fight for the honor of England. The 
French were defeated with the loss of five thousand men. They might have 
been destroyed had the advantage been promptly followed up. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 81 

ponding liberality ; and the governor was so well pleased chap. 
with the good temper of the assembly, that he signed' — „ — • 
every bill presented for his approbation, without a mur- ' ' 
mur of disapprobation, not even excepting the supply- 
bill, which, notwithstanding his demand to the contrary, 
in the opening speech, was limited to the year. 

But notwithstanding these reciprocal manifestations of 
good feeling ; and notwithstanding also the amiable traits 
of the governor's natural disposition, it will be seen in the 
progress of events that the bluff characteristics of the 
sailor were :uot always to be concealed ; and his adminis- 
tration, in process of time, became as tempestuous as the 
element upon which he was certainly more at home than 
upon the land. 

Until after the arrival of Governor Clinton Mr. Johnson 
seems to have taken no part in the public affairs of the 
colony. His name appears in none of the public records 
of that day ; and such of his private papers as have es- 
caped the ravages of time and revolution, exhibit him 
only in the character of a country merchant, enlarging his 
business from year to year, increasing rapidly in wealth, 
and assiduously cultivating the friendship and language 
of the Indians. Before the year 1743, he had removed 
from the south to the north side of the river, and settled 
at the place heretofore described as Mount Johnson. 
He had also in the last mentioned year become connected 
with the fur-trade at the important trading post of Oswe- 
go. Nor was it long before he opened a correspondence 
on his own account with the opulent house of Sir "William 
Baker & Co., in London. As his fortunes improved rapidly, 
he grew with equal pace in the public estimation, not 
only among the people of his own region, but likewise in 
Albany and New York. His correspondence during this 
period was considerable, indicating an extensive business 
in all the multifarious departments of a country trading 

establishment, independently of the fur-trade, in which he 
11 



82 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM J0HNS0X, BART. 

chap, was now engaged, and his commerce with the Indians. In 
v.^L/ his business transactions " he by no means lost sight of 
1743. hig own interests, but on the contrary raised himself to 
wealth in an open and active manner, not disdaining any 
honorable means of benefiting himself ; but at the same 
time the bad policy, as well as meanness of sacrificing re- 
spectability to snatching present advantages, were so 
obvious to him, that he laid the foundation of his future 
prosperity on the broad and deep basis of honorable deal- 
ing, accompanied by the most vigilant attention to the 
objects he had in view ; acting so as without the least de- 
parture from integrity on the one hand, or inattention to 
his affairs on the other, to conduct himself in such a man- 
ner as gave an air of magnanimity to his character, that 
made him the object of universal confidence." 1 

Meantime the relations between Great Britain and 
Spain had undergone a change demanding the services of 
Mr. Johnson's uncle and patron, Captain Warren, upon 
his own element. After a long series of aggressions upon 
the commerce of England in the West India seas, com- 
mitted by the Spaniards, attended often by the utmost in- 
solence, cruelty, and rapine, 2 the former power, appealing 
in vain to the court of Madrid for indemnification, granted 
letters of marque and reprisal against the Spaniards in 
the year 1739. It was on the seventeenth of August 
of that year, that Mr. Clarke, the lieutenant-governor, 
laid before his council his majesty's warrant, authorizing 
the government of New York to issue letters of marque 
and reprisal against the commerce of Spain. Measures to 

1 Memoirs of an American Lady, by Mrs. Grant. 

2 Smollett's continuation of Hume. Bancroft, I am aware, gives another 
aspect to the case, vide History of the United States, vol. iii, pp. 435 and 
onward. He contends that England was the aggressor, and the cause of 
war was with Spain. So seems to have thought Walpole, but so thought 
not Pulteney, Pitt, afterward Earl of Chatham, and their followers in and 
out of parliament. Nor has the brilliancy of Bancroft's style and argu- 
ment won me to his side of the question. 



Life of sir William johnson, bart. 83 

that end were immediately adopted by the council, in- chap. 
eluding the specification of the bonds to be taken, and thew^— > 
forms of commissions to be granted. 1 1743, 

This measure was soon followed by an open rupture. 
The British squadron in the Mediterranean having taken 
two richly laden Spanish merchantmen from Caraccas, his 
Catholic majesty ordered all the English ships in his har- 
bors to be seized and detained. A declaration of war 
could no longer be avoided by Sir Robert Walpole, al- 
though that able and crafty minister had labored long and 
earnestly to avoid such an issue. 2 The declaration by the 
king of England, was proclaimed in October, 1739, and 
Admiral Vernon was forthwith dispatched in the com- 
mand of a fleet against the Spanish West India posses- 
sions ; but it was not until the thirtieth of June in the 
following year that the fact that such a declaration had 
been issued, was officially communicated to the general 
assembly by Lieutenant-Governor Clarke. He then called 
upon the assembly to encourage, by bounty, enlistments 
of volunteers to join his majesty's troops engaged in the 
"West India expedition ; and a bill was shortly afterward 
passed making provision for the victualing and transport- 
ation of five hundred volunteers in that service. 3 From 

1 MS. records of the executive council of New York. It appears by 
these records, however, that the privateering business had been carried on 
briskly from the port of New York for the two or three preceding years. 

1 Smollett. It was upon this subject of their Spanish relations, that Sir 
Robert Walpole was compelled to encounter the fierce opposition which 
marked and embittered his closing career. Before the issuing of the let- 
ters of marque, a convention had been concluded between England and 
Spain (though never regarded by the latter), which was the subject of the 
severest condemnation by the opposition, and was denounced with the 
strongest invective by Sir William Wyndham and Mr. Pulteney, in the com- 
mons ; to whom Walpole, losing nis temper, repnea in a manner that in- 
duced the famous secession of the minority from the house, in 1738. Those 
debates have been greatly Extolled for their eloquence and power. In the 
following year, however f the seceding members resumed their seats, with 
Mr. Pulteney at their head. 

s Journals of the Provincial Assembly. 



84 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART; 

chap, the West Indies, Vernon directed his course to Porto 
w^Bello, which became an easy conquest. The fortress of 
1743. Chagre was also taken and demolished by Vernon, and 
Europe was made to resound with his praises for these ex- 
ploits. Lord Cathcart, to whom the command of the land 
forces of the expedition was entrusted, having died at Do- 
minica, a victim to the climate, the command devolved 
upon " the inexperienced and irresolute Wentworth." 1 
Expectation was high in regard to anticipated triumphs ; 
and in May, 1741, more levies were required from the 
northern colonies, and the assembly of New York was re- 
quired by Mr. Clarke to make farther appropriations for 
this service. It was hoped, said the speech, that "the 
glorious beginning would excite the assembly to speedy 
and generous resolutions." But this "glorious begin- 
ning" was shortly followed by the miserable ending of 
the expedition against Carthagena, where, weakened by 
sickness in its most frightful forms, and discouraged by 
the ill-judged movements of their commanders, the British 
troops were repulsed in an attempt to storm the citadel, 
or castle commanding the town. In escaping thence, 
Vernon and "Wentworth attempted to retrieve their sad 
reverses at Carthagena by a descent upon Cuba. A land- 
ing was effected in a bay, on the south-eastern part of that 
island, in July, 1741, and the troops ascending a river, 
encamped about twenty miles from the bay. This event 
was announced by Mr. Clarke, in a speech to the assem- 
bly, in September. General Wentworth, it was said, had 
obtained a secure footing on the island, and recruits and 
supplies were called for to secure the conquest. 2 But they 
were not needed. After remaining inactive in their posi- 
tion till the month of November, enfeebled by the cli- 

1 Bancroft. 

2 See Journals of the Provincial Assembly. In this speech the lieutenant- 
governor recommended the enactment of laws regulating the manufacture 
and sale of flour and bread — denouncing the bolters and bakers for their 
frauds, &c. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 85 

mate, and their numbers wasted by sickness, the troops chap. 
were re-embarked, and sailed to Jamaica. 1 The whole ^-^—^ 
expedition was a deplorable failure. The levies, from the 1<43 - 
colonies nearly all perished from the pestilence, and the 
entire loss of lives was estimated at twenty thousand. Eng- 
land had made no acquisitions, and had inflicted on the 
Spanish West Indies far less evil than she herself had 
suffered." 2 

Simultaneously with these operations in the West In- 
dies, the invasion of Florida from the colonies, had been 
determined on, the command being entrusted to General 
Oglethorpe, — the benevolent founder of Georgia, — who 
was ordered to raise levies of provincials for that purpose 
from South Carolina and his own infant plantations. This 
expedition, though successfully commenced by the cap- 
ture of Fort Diego, distant twenty-five miles from St. Au- 
gustine, owing to a combination of untoward circum- 
stances, ended in disaster — the general having been com- 
pelled to raise the siege of the last mentioned fortress, 
under circumstances that caused great and mutual dissat- 
isfaction between the troops and their commander. 3 

These hostilities, as I have already remarked, required 
the services of Captain Warren at sea, to which he seems 
to have been ordered very soon after writing the letter to 
his nephew cited in the early part of the present chapter ; 
inasmuch as he was engaged in the squadron of Commo- 
dore Price, co-operating with General Oglethorpe against 
St. Augustine. The vessel commanded by Captain War- 
ren at this time is not mentioned ; but he was certainly 
there at the time in question, for when it was found that 
the town could not be effectively cannonaded from the 
batteries erected by Oglethorpe on an island in the river 
opposite, because of the distance, a plan was proposed for a 
night attack upon the Spanish galleys which prevented the 

i Smollett. 

2 Bancroft. 

3 Marshall's Colonial History. 



86 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, passage of the river for a direct assault, and Captain War- 
v— v — -ren volunteered to conduct the enterprise. "But, on 
1743 - sounding the bar, the water was found too shallow to 
admit the passage of one of the large ships to the attack, 
and the project was necessarily abandoned." 1 Probably, 
however, Captain Warren was then in command of the 
Squirrel, a twenty-gun ship, in which he was certainly 
cruising upon the American station eighteen months af- 
terward. In 1742 he commanded the Launceton, of forty 
guns, in which he captured the Peregrina privateer, 
mounting fourteen carriage, and four swivel guns, in com- 
pany with Captain Edward Aylmer, of the Port Mahon. 
"Warren was subsequently promoted to the Superbe, of 
sixty guns, in which he was ordered to the West Indies, 
where he was left by Admiral Sir Chaloner Ogle in com- 
mand as commodore of a small squadron on the Antigua 
station. 2 The activity of his after-life probably left him 
but little time to reside on shore in New York, before his 
return to and settlement in England. But of this here- 
after. 

France was at that time an ally of Spain, in the wars 
of the continent; and had well nigh been drawn into the 
contest with England in 1741. The queen of Spain hav- 
ing formed a plan for erecting a kingdom for her second 
son, Don Philip, from some of the Italian dominions, an 
army of fifteen thousand men was embarked for that ob- 
ject at Barcelona, for Orbitello, which was convoyed thither 
by the united squadrons of France and Spain — passing 
the straits of Gibraltar in the night, while Admiral Had- 
dock, with a fleet of twelve sail of the line was lying i; 
the bay. The British admiral sailing from Gibraltar, reil 
in with them in a few days, and discovered both squad- 
rons drawn up in order of battle, having been joined by me 
French squadron from Toulon. When bearing down to 

1 Marshall's Colonial History. 

2 Charnock. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 8 I 

give the Spaniards battle, the French admiral sent a flag chap. 
to the English, informing him that inasmuch as the French ■ — ¥ — - 
and Spanish fleets were engaged in a joint expedition, he 1743 - 
should he obliged to act in concert with his master's allies. 
The combined fleets amounted to double the number of 
the English ships ; and the interposition of the French 
admiral prevented an engagement. 1 Still the time was 
not far distant when France became involved in the con- 
test with England, by reason of espousing the cause of 
the Chevalier de St. Greorge, usually called " the pretend- 
er." And an expedition in behalf of this prince, with a 
view of placing him upon the throne of his ancestors, the 
Stuarts, under a belief that he would be received in Scot- 
land with acclamation, w T as set on foot by France during 
the present year. 

Advices of the intended invasion of his majesty's do- 1744 
minions, in behalf of "a Popish pretender," were com- 
municated to the general assembly of New York by Gov- 
ernor Clinton, in April, 1744. In connection with this 
anticipated act of hostility, which would of course extend 
to the contiguous colonies of the two countries, efficient 
measures were urged for placing the country in a posture 
of defence. The temper of the colony, in regard to this 
movement of France, may be inferred from the immediate 
action of the assembly. In the council, Chief Justice De 
Lancey, in moving an address of thanks for the speech, 
offered also a resolution expressive of the abhorrence of 
that body of the designs of France in favor of the pre- 
tender, and declaring that the civil and religious rights of 
his majesty's subjects depended on the Protestant succes- 
sion. The house was invited to join in the address, which 
request, though a very unusual procedure, was readily 
acquiesced in, and the address was prepared by a joint 
committee of the two houses. 1 From all this it was evi- 

i Smollett. 

2 Journals of the Colonial Assembly. 



88 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, dent that a war was very near at hand, and that the fron- 
v_ v _/ tiers of the colony might again, very soon, be subjected to 
1744 - the ravages of a foe than whose tender mercies nothing 
could be more cruel. 

An appropriation had been made in the preceding De- 
cember, to enable Governor Clinton to meet the Six !N ations 
in general council. But no such conference had yet taken 
place. Happening to be in Albany, however, in June of 
the present year, and a considerable party of the chiefs 
and sachems happening to be there also at the same time, 
an interview took place at which the formalities almost 
of a general council were interchanged. The governor 
commenced his speech by informing them that he had it 
in command from the great king their father, to tell them 
of his desire that the covenant chain between them should 
be kept bright and strong. He then informed them how 
his majesty had sent an army into Germany the preceding 
year, which had been treacherously attacked by the 
French, contrary to the faith of treaties. But by the 
courage of the English they were beaten, and obliged to 
fly across the Rhine. 1 Not only so, but the governor told 
them that at a subsequent day, the French fleet had joined 
itself to the fleet of his majesty's enemies, the Spaniards, 
and having attacked the British fleet, the French had 
again been beaten. 2 After this, the French king had de- 

1 Preferring to the battle of Dettingen, of which a brief account has been 
given in a preceding note. 

2 Referring to the irregular and unfortunate engagement between the 
English and the combined French and Spanish fleets, off Toulon, on the 
eleventh and twelfth of February, 1744. The English commander was Ad- 
miral Matthews, under whom was Vice Admiral Lestock. The French 
commander was M. de Court ; the Spanish Don Navarro. The combined 
fleets had been blockaded in Toulon. But on attempting to get to sea, 
they were attacked by Matthews, whq himself, behaved with great intre- 
pidity ; but failed in his tactics. Between Matthews and Lestock, a bitter 
antagonistical feeling existed ; and perceiving the erroneous manoeuvers 
of his commander, Lestock furnished a precedent for Captain Elliott, in the 
American service, on Lake Erie, seventy years afterward, by manceuver- 
ing on both days, so as to keep entirely out of the action. For this con- 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 89 

clared war against their great father, who in turn had chap. 
declared war against him. 1 For the present, the governor >— ^ 
would not urge them upon the war-path. He wished 1744 « 
them to remain at home, — to be on their guard against 
the arts of the French, — and to communicate whatever 
information they could obtain to the Indian commission- 
ers at Albany. In recompense for their fidelity, they were 
promised protection by the English ; but they were also 
told by the governor that he should expect them to assist 
in the prosecution of the war whenever called upon for 
that purpose. The governor farther spoke of the import- 
ance, to them, of maintaining the post of Oswego, where 
they could always purchase goods cheaper than they could 
of the French. The French had their eye upon this post, 
to defend which six pieces of ordnance had recently been 
forwarded thither ; and should it be attacked, the govern- 
or expected the Six Nations to assist in its defence. In 
conclusion, the governor reminded them of the promise 
formerly made by the Cayugas and Senecas, that they 
would concentrate their people and unite their castles. If 
this measure had not been executed, he hoped they would 
attend to it as soon as possible ; since, in this time of war, 
a union of their nations would greatly add to their strength 
and reputation. They had likewise promised that no 
Frenchmen should be suffered to live among them ; which 
promise the governor hoped they had kept. 

This speech was delivered on the eighteenth of June. 
Two days afterward the chiefs replied ; but not in a man- 
ner altogether satisfactory to the governor upon the main 
subject of his speech — the war with France. True, they 
reciprocated his excellency's professions of friendship with 

duct, Lestock was brought to a court marshal, but instead of being pun- 
ished, as he deserved, Matthews, who had really fought with gallant dar- 
ing, was dismissed the service for allowing the fleets to escape him ! Such 
is the caprice of fortune. 

1 The French declaration of the war of 1744, was dated on the twentieth 
day of March. On the thirty-first day of March, the English declaration 
published amidst the acclamations of the people. 
12 



90 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, as much apparent cordiality as ever. It was their deter- 
^— v— - urination to strengthen the covenant chain, and keep it 
1744 - strong and bright as long as the sun endures. Indeed, 
"we will preserve it so strong and keep it so bright, that 
it shall not be in the power of the devil himself, with any 
of his wiles and arts, to break or rust it." Yet they were 
not remarkably anxious to prove their friendship by going 
upon the war-path. They said they understood all that 
had been said in regard to the conduct of the French and 
the war. But, as to engaging in it, that seemed to be 
another affair. They were indeed a warlike people, and 
they had never yet been engaged in a war in which they had 
not sooner or later prevailed. But they did not now like 
to begin the war with Canada. It would be time enough 
when the enemy himself had taken up the hatchet. When 
the enemy should have attacked any of the subjects of the 
great king, their father, they would be ready to join in 
defending themselves against them. In reference to the 
post of Oswego, they were glad it was to be preserved ; 
but, as to its immediate advantages to them, in their trade, 
these were not so great as when first established ; they 
sold goods cheaper to the Indians then, than they do now. 
They liked the officer in command there, and wished 
goods might become as cheap as before. Yet, should it 
be attacked, they would aid in its defence. In regard to 
the proposed concentration of their two western nations, 
the Cayugas and Senecas, they were too busy to do it now. 
Nor would they send from among them any of the French 
that might be residing with their people. " We have just 
told you we are for peace, and must await the attacks of 
the enemy. Should we take hold of any French that 
came among us, we should be the first aggressors." 1 

The apprehensions expressed by the governor, respect- 
ing Oswego, were by no means groundless. On the 
twenty-fourth of June he laid before the council letters 

1 The proceedings of this incidental council may be found at large in 
the Council Minutes. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 91 

from the commandant of Oswego, advising that Monsieur chap. 
Micol Ilaydcn had ascended Lake Ontario past that post, v-^—/ 
with a small force (probably of observation); and some 1<44 - 
Indian scouts had returned from Cadaracqui, with intelli- 
gence that the French were collecting a force of eight 
hundred men for the purpose of attacking Oswego, and 
were only waiting for the arrival of their fleet in the St. 
Lawrence to complete their arrangements and make the 
descent. 1 

But the largest and most important Indian council of the 
year 1744, and upon which the principal sachems and chiefs 
of the Six Nations were in attendance nearly at the same 
time that Mr. Clinton was holding his conference with 
others of their chiefs at Albany, took place at Lancaster, 
in the colony of Pennsylvania, commencing on the twenty- 
second day of June, and ending on the fourth of July. 
This council was convened at the solicitation of Lieutenant- 
Governor Thomas, of that colony, who had assumed the 
office of mediator between the Six Nations and the colonies 
of Maryland and Virginia, in regard to the ownerships of 
certain districts of country within the extending borders 
of those colonies, claimed by the Six Nations. It will be 
remembered that complaints of trespasses upon those 
lands, especially by the people of Maryland, were uttered 
by the Six Nations in Philadelphia two years before, and 
also that the governor of Maryland was written to upon 
the subject by the council of Pennsylvania at that time, — 
the Indians having intimated a threat that, if their com- 
plaints were not attended to, they were able to do justice 
to themselves. Mr. Thomas had also acted as a media- 
tor between the Virginians and the Six Nations, touch- 
ing the skirmish between a party of Iroquois warriors and 
a small body of Virginia militia-men, under Captains 
M'Dowell and Buchanan, which occurred in the back part 
of the colony, in December, 1742, the particulars of which 
have already been related. By means of this interposi- 

1 Council Minutes. 



92 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, tion, the difficulty had been adjusted; — both parties agree- 
>— >r -> ing to lay down their arms and bury the transaction in 
1744 - oblivion ; Virginia cementing the reconciliation by a pre- 
sent of goods to the amount of one hundred pounds. Yet 
the land-controversy remained for adjustment; although 
it was not apparent at the council of 1742, that the claim 
of the Indians extended to any lands upon which the pale 
faces had trespassed in Virginia. They were indeed re- 
ported by the Indian commissioners at Albany, in their 
dispatches to Lieutenant-Governor Clarke, to have disa- 
vowed making any such claim. But that was a wide mis- 
understanding between the parties, since the claim was 
advanced upon Virginia as well as Maryland; and this 
council was invited by Mr. Thomas, for the purpose, if 
possible, of effecting such an adjustment of the contro- 
versy between the parties respectively, as should be satis- 
factory to them all. 

No doubt the anxiety of Mr. Thomas to bring about a 
reconciliation, was quickened by the impending conflict 
with France. He saw the importance of the Six Nations 
as a barrier between the English and French colonies. If 
friends, to quote nearly his own language, they were capa- 
ble of defending the English settlements ; if enemies, of 
making cruel ravages upon them ; if neutral, they could 
deny the French a passage through their country to strike 
the English settlements, and moreover give timely inform- 
ation of their designs. The advantages of cultivating a 
good understanding with them were therefore obvious, 
while equally evident were the disadvantages of a rupture. 
Hence the exertions of Mr. Thomas to gather the present 
council, to which Virginia had commissioned as delegates 
the Honorable Thomas Lee, and Colonel "William Beverley, 
and Maryland the Honorable Edmund Jennings, Philip 
Thomas, Esquire, and Colonels Robert King and Thomas 
Calvil. Mr. Witham Marshe was appointed secretary to 
the commission, and the Rev. Mr. Craddock chaplain. 1 

x Witham Marshe — afterward Sir William Johnson's secretary — has 
left a very particular and edifying journal of his journey to and from this 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 93 

The number of Indian deputies present — chiefs and sa- chap. 
chems, — is not stated ; hut they came like a caravan, w ^- , 
accompanied by warriors who were not chiefs, and by wo- 1744 - 
men and children and old men, to the number of more 
than two hundred and fifty persons. Several of their women 
and children were mounted on horseback, " a thing very 
unusual with them ;" and their warriors were armed with 
muskets, bows and arrows, and tomahawks. 1 On enter- 
ing the village of Lancaster, " a great multitude of people 
followed them. They inarched in very good order, with 
Canassateego, one of the Onondaga chiefs at their head ; 
who, when he came near to the quarters of the commis- 
sioners, sung, in the Indian language, a song, inviting to 
a renewal of all treaties heretofore made, and to the nego- 
tiation of a new one." 2 

The Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas and Tusca- 
roras were each represented. The Mohawks were not. 
Canassateego and Tachanoontia, Onondagas, and Gach- 
radodow, a Cayuga, were the speakers, and Conrad "Wei- 
ser, whose Indian name was Tarachawagon, as usual, the 
interpreter. 

The chiefs with their retinue, formed an encampment in 
the precincts of the town, which, from the descriptions of 
honest Witham Marshe, must have presented a rare ex- 
ample of the picturesque in human life. While the sages 
were in council, the women occupied themselves with 
their usual domestic concerns, and the children frolicked 
about at their option — the boys making strong their arms 
by stringing the bow, and improving their skill by speed- 
ing the arrow, or hurling their little hatchets — acquiring 
the art, in anticipation of going upon the war-path, of 
planting the hatchet in the trunk of a tree within the 

council, and of its proceedings from day to day, to which I shall have oc- 
casion more than once to refer. This curious itinerary may be found in 
vol. vii, Mass. His. Coll. 

1 Marshe's Journal. 

2 Idem. 



94 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, diameter of a hair of the mark. In the evenings, when 
s_^_, the graver affairs of the day were ended, and the fires were 
1744. lighted, the young men indulged in their favorite sports 
and games, wild and grotesque, before the groups of pale 
faces that gathered around their encampment ; now illus- 
trating the pow-wow dance, and now seizing a spear in 
one hand and a hatchet in the other, making the woods 
ring with the shrill war whoop, as around the blazing 
lire they performed the threatening war-dance. Among 
the friends to the mission was the celebrated Catherine 
Montour,— a princess of the Senecas residing at the head 
of Seneca lake in the midst of a clan whom she ruled. 
Mrs. Montour was a half-breed, her father according to 
tradition and her own story, having been governor of 
Canada, and her mother a Huron. Until about ten years 
of age, she had been carefully reared and educated, and 
her manners, even then, in her old age, were affable, and 
comparatively polite. During the war between the Six 
Nations and the French and Hurons, she was captured and 
carried into the country of the Senecas, by whom she was 
adopted. On arriving at years of maturity she was mar- 
ried to a famous war-captain, who was in great esteem for 
the glory he achieved for his people in their wars against 
the Catawbas, by whom she had several children. About 
fifteen years before the date Of this council, her chief was 
slain by the Catawbas. She had two daughters, both 
married to war-captains, who were then upon the war- 
path at the south. She had also a son, John, a man of 
great prowess, then absent against the Catawbas. He was 
a brave partisan warrior at a later period, and a great 
favorite of Sir "William Johnson — being often in his ser- 
vice. Although so young when made a prisoner, she had 
nevertheless preserved her language ; and being in youth 
and middle age very handsome, and of good address, she 
had been greatly caressed by the gentlewomen of Phila- 
delphia during her occasional visits to that city with her 
people on business. Indeed she was always held in great 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 95 

esteem by the white people, invited to their houses, and chap. 
entertained with marked civility. 1 ■ — ^ 

The business of the council was opened by Mr. Thomas, 1744 - 
in a speech addressed chiefly to the commissioners of 
Maryland and Virginia, who at its close were formally in- 
troduced to the dusky ambassadors " as brethren who had 
come to enlarge the fire which had almost gone out, and 
to brighten the chain which had contracted some rust." 
To the chiefs he said : " receive these your brethren with 
open arms, and unite yourselves to them in the covenant 
chain as one body and one soul." The speech was closed 
with exhortations to the Indians of fidelity toward the 
English, and by the oft-repeated cautions against the arts 
and designs of the French. Canassateego replied that the 
Indians had always considered Assaragoa, 2 and the gov- 
ernor of Maryland as their friends ; but inasmuch as they 
had met to adjust disputes about land, he preferred having 
that business settled first, after which they could proceed 
"to confirm the friendship subsisting between them." 

The Maryland commissioners opened their case first. 
They were surprised when they heard of the claim of the 
Six Nations two years ago, to any of their lands, and were 
displeased at the threat with which they had accompanied 
their complaint, — as though they had designed to terrify 
the people of Maryland into a compliance with their de- 
mands. The people of Maryland had been in possession 
of the lands in question more than a hundred years, with- 
out having heard of this claim. Ninety years ago the 
Susquehanna Indians had by treaty relinquished those 
lands. Sixty years ago the Six Nations had acknow- 
ledged, at Albany, that they had given up their lands and 
submitted themselves to the king of England. In a word, 
they believed the Six Nations had no rightful claim what- 
ever to the territory in dispute. " They had now laid 

1 Witham Marshe's Journal. 

2 The name which the Indians had conferred upon the governor of Vir- 
ginia, and by which they always addressed him or his representatives. 



96 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, their bosoms bare ;" and yet they were willing, in order 
v_^_/to remove every cause of contention, to make the Six Na- 
1744, tions a valuable present of goods, which they had brought 
along " in a chest, with the key in their pocket." 

Canassateego replied. 1 It was true that the Indians, in 
making their complaint against the trespasses upon their 
lands by the people of Maryland, had used language " that 
looked like a design to terrify you." He admitted that 
they had done so. They had complained in regard to 
trespasses upon their lands about seven years ago. But no 
notice was taken of their complaint. " Two years ago, 
therefore, they resolved to use such language as would 
make the greatest impression on your minds, and we find 
it has had its effect. You will soon have understood our 
expressions in their true sense. We had no evil design, — 
no desire to terrify you, but to put you on doing the jus- 
tice you have so long delayed." Having thus explained 
the intention of their menace, and added the strong- 
est assurances of their good disposition toward the com- 
missioners, the chief proceeded to discuss the nature of 
their claim, and its history, — commencing in true Indian 
style, with the first planting of the European colonies in 
America. " When you mentioned the aftair of the land 
yesterday, you went back to old times. You told us you 
had been in possession of the province of Maryland above 
one hundred years ; but what is one hundred years, in 
comparison of the length of time since our claim began ? 
since we came out of this ground? Long before one 
hundred years our ancestors came out of this very ground, 
and their children have remained here ever since. You 
came out of the ground in a country that lies beyond the 

1 For some account of this Indian counselor, and an interesting anecdote 
concerning him, see Froud's Pennsylvania, and also the author's history 
of Wyoming. Witham Marshe says of him : " He was a tall, well made 
man ; had a very full chest, and brawny limbs. He had a manly counte- 
nance, mixed with a good natured smile. He was about sixty years of 
age ; very active, strong, and had a surprising liveliness in his speech, 
which I observed betwixthim, Mr. Weiser, and some of the sachems." 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOIINSON, BART. 97 

seas. There you may have a just claim, but here you chap. 
must allow us to be your elder brethren. It is true that *_^_ > 
above one hundred years ago the Dutch came here in a 1 ' 44 - 
ship, and brought us goods — such as awls, hatchets, 
knives, guns, and other things. And when they had 
taught us how to use them, and saw what sort of people 
they were, we liked them so well that we tied their ship 
to the bushes on the shore. Afterward, liking them still 
better the longer they staid with us, and thinking the 
bushes too slender, we removed the rope and tied it to the 
trees ; and as the trees were likely to be blown ciown by 
the high winds, or to decay of themselves, we, from the 
affection we bore them, again removed the rope, and tied 
it to a strong and big rock. 1 Not content with this, for 
its further security, we removed the rope to the Big Moun- 
tain, and there we tied it very fast, and rolled wampum 
about it ; 2 and, to make it still more secure, we stood 
upon the wampum and sat down upon it. To prevent 
any hurt coming to it, we did our best endeavors that it 
might remain uninjured forever." During all this time, 
he maintained, the Dutch never disputed their title to the 
land, but purchased by league and covenant, as they 
needed. Then came the English, who, the Indians were 
told, became one people with the Dutch. The English 

1 Here the interpreter said they meant the Oneida country. They were 
called the People of the Rock, from a large and peculiar stone in their 
country, which, according to their tradition was moving westward, and the 
nation moved with that stone, or rock. Indeed the name, Oneida, signifies 
an upright stone. By some of the Oneidas, this Oneida stone was regarded 
as a proper emblem, or representation of the divinity whom they worshiped. 
" This stone," says the late Rev. Jeddediah Morse, D. D., in one of his 
missionary tours, " we saw. It is of a rude, unwrought shape, rather in- 
clined to cylindrical, and of more than a hundred pounds weight. It bears 
no resemblance to any of the stones found in that country. From whence 
it was brought, no one can tell. The tradition is that it follows the nation 
in their removals. When set up in the crotch of a tree, the people were 
supposed invincible.'" 

2 This was an allusion to the Onondaga country — the People of the Big 
Mountain. 

13 



98 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, governor came to Albany, and approving mightily of the 
v— ^ — - friendship between the Dutch and Indians, wished like- 
!744. w j ge .j- f orm a league with the Six Nations. " Looking 
into what had passed between us, he found that the rope 
which tied the ship to the great mountain, was only fast- 
ened with wampum, which was liable to break and rot. 
He therefore told us he would give us a silver chain, 
which would be much stronger, and would last forever. 
This we accepted, and fastened the ship with it, and it has 
lasted ever since." Glancing rapidly over the history of 
their intercourse with the English, and arguing that on 
the whole that intercourse had been of no advantage to 
them, the arrival of William Penn was thus referred to : 
" Our brother Onas, a great while ago, came to Albany, 
to buy the Susquehanna lands of us ; but our brother the 
governor of New York, who, as we supposed, had not a 
good understanding with our brother Onas, advised us not 
to sell him any land, for he would make an ill use of it ; 
and, pretending to be our good friend, he advised us, in 
order to prevent Onas, or any other person's imposing 
upon us, and that we might always have our land when 
we should want it, to put it into his hands ; and told us 
he would keep it for our use, and never open his hands, 
but keep them close shut, and not part with any of it, but 
at our own request. Accordingly we trusted him, and 
charged him to keep the land safe for our use. But some 
time after, he went to England, and carried our land with 
him, and there sold it to our brother Onas for a large sum 
of money ; and when afterward, we were minded to sell 
our brother Onas some of our lands, he told us that we 
had sold them to the governor of New York, already, and 
that he had bought them of him in England ! But when 
he came to understand how the governor of New York 
had deceived us, he very generously paid us for the Sus- 
quehanna lands over again." 

Notwithstanding the dishonesty thus practiced upon 
them by New York, however, the orator admitted that in 
their wars with the French, they had received such assist- 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 99 

ance from New York as had enabled them " to keep up chap. 
their heads against their attacks." In regard to the im-v.^ 
mediate question as to the lands now in controversy, the 1744 - 
orator said they had examined the titles adduced by the 
commissioners, to the Susquehanna lands, and admitted 
their validity. The Conestoga or Susquehanna Indians had 
sold them to the governor of .Maryland before their subju- 
gation by the Six Nations, and therefore they had a right 
to sell them. But those were not the lands in dispute. 
The Six Nations demanded satisfaction for no part of 
those lands, but their claim was from the Cohongoron- 
tas lands. 1 Those, they were sure, had not been in the 
possession of the people of Maryland one hundred years, 
no, nor even ten years; 1 and the Six Nations had de- 
manded satisfaction so soon as they were apprised that the 
people of Maryland had settled down upon them. They 
had never been sold ; but understanding that the commis- 
sioners were provided with goods to pay for them, they 
were willing to treat for their sale. Canassateego added, 
that inasmuch as the then governors of Virginia, Mary- 
land and Pennsylvania had divided the lands among them, 
the Indians could not tell how much had been taken by 
each, nor were they concerned on that account, provided 
they were paid by the parties upon the principles of honor 
and justice. 2 

Next in order the discussion was resumed by Mr. 
Lee, of the Virginia commission, who acknowledged 
that seven years before, Onas had written to Assaragoa 
in behalf of the Six Nations, requesting compensation 
for certain lands claimed by them, upon which they 
alleged some of the Virginians had taken their seats ; 
but as they had heard that the Six Nations had given up 
their lands to the great king long ago, and as Virginia had 
been in possession one hundred and sixty years, Assara- 

1 Cohongorontas, the name by which the Potomac was called by the Six 
Nations. 

2 Dr. Colden's account of the treaty. 



100 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, goa thought there must be some mistake in the matter. 
w^ — r He had therefore requested the governor of New York, 
1744. near iy two years ago, to make some inquiry upon the 
subject. That governor sent a message to the great coun- 
cil-fire at Onondaga more than a year ago, to which the 
chiefs answered, "that if they had had any demands or pre- 
tensions upon the governor of Virginia, they would have 
made it known to the governor of New York." It was 
clear, therefore, that the Six Nations had no claim upon 
Virginia for the Cohongorohtas lands, nor for any other. 
Yet, continued the commissioners, " tell us what nations 
of Indians you conquered lands from in Virginia, how many 
since, and what possessions you have had ; and if it ap- 
pears that there are any lands oh the borders of Virginia 
to which you have a right, we are willing to make you 
satisfaction. 

This speech was pronounced by Canassateego to be 
very good and agreeable ; and after the usual time for 
consideration with the Indians had elapsed, Tachanoontia 
replied. 1 He said they claimed the lands on the Susque- 
hanna and on the Cohongorontas, and back of the great 
mountains by the right of conquest — "a right too dearly 
purchased, and which cost too much blood, to be given up 
without any reason at all, as you say we did at Albany." 
He denied, explicitly, the answer said to have been re- 
turned to Governor Clarke's message from Albany the 
year before. No such answer had been given either by 
the chiefs, or by anybody else. If they held the fact to 

be otherwise, he demanded the letter. He next proceeded 

» 

1 Tachanoontia was an Onondaga sachem and warrior. " He was a tall, 
thin man ; old, and not so well featured as Canassateego, but about the 
same age. He is one of the greatest warriors that ever the Six Nations 
produced, and has been a great war-captain for many years past. This 
chief was also called The Black Prince, because, as I was informed, he 
was either the son of an Indian woman by a negro, or of an Indian chief 
by a negress ; but by which of the two I could not be well assured. The 
governor of Canada will not treat with any of the Six Nation, unless 
Tachanoontia is personally present, he having a great sway in all the 
Indian councils." — Witham Marshe. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 101 

to enumerate five several nations of Indians in Virginia chap. 

ir. 

whom the Six Nations had conquered, " and who feel the w^-^ 
effects of our conquests, being now a part of our nations 1744 - 
and their lands at our disposal. However, the chief was 
not disposed to prolong the discussion concerning the 
lands, as, understanding that commissioners were provided 
with goods, he thought that question could be easily 
adjusted. 

Before closing his speech, however, Tachanoontia re- 
ferred, for the purpose apparently of making an expla- 
nation, to the skirmish that had taken place in the back 
part of Virginia, in December, 1742, between a party of 
the Six Nations' warriors and a detachment of Virginia 
militia, under Captains M'Dowell and Buchanan, the par- 
ticulars of which have been already stated. This affair, he 
asserted, had been occasioned solely by the aggressions 
of Virginia. Twenty years ago, at the treaty held by 
Governor Spotteswood in Albany, the Six Nations had 
agreed to remove their road to the middle of the ridge of 
the great mountains. But the Virginians, contrary to 
the stipulations of that treaty, had settled on that road ; 
and this was the cause of the affray. The Six Nations 
then removed their road again to the foot of the moun- 
tains ; " but it was not long before your people came like 
a flock of birds, and sat down on both sides of it." They 
could not remove their road any farther back, and this 
matter, said the chief, must be settled before we can 
make any grant of land. " The Virginia people must be 
obliged to remove farther easterly, or, if they stay, our 
warriors must share what they plant." 

The proceedings were interlocutory, the Maryland com- 
missioners interposing at this stage of them, and after a 
speech denying, peremptorily, the claim of the Six Na- 
tions, yet, for the purpose of harmony, — that they might 
all be of one heart, — offering to pay for a title to the 
lands in dispute the sum of three hundred pounds in 
goods. 

The Virginia commissioners thereupon renewed the 



102 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, discussion, — insisting that "the king held the entire ter- 
w^-^ ritoiy of Virginia by right of conquest, to the westward 
1744 - as far as the great sea." Even if the Six Nations had 
conquered any Indians beyond the great mountains, they 
yet had never possessed any lands there. When the Eng- 
lish came those lands were deserted. But aside from this 
fact, the Indians were reminded once more of their re- 
linquishment of their lands to the great king fifty-eight 
years before, in a treaty with the governor of New York, at 
Albany. Lord Howard, the governor of Virginia, being 
also there. They had then not only given up their lands 
to the king for his protection, but declared themselves 
his subjects. 1 In respect to the affair between Captain 
M'Dowell and a party of their warriors, the commission- 
ers maintained that the Indians had not kept their agree- 
ment with Governor Spotteswood, not to pass or repass 
within certain boundaries without written passports, either 
from the governor of ISTew York or of Virginia. " What 
right can you have to lands that you have no right to walk 
upon, but upon certain conditions ? Nor would there have 
been any collision, had the Six Nations kept the peace 
with the southern Indians, which had been confirmed at 
Albany with Governor Clarke. It was owing to the 
war they were continuing against the Catawbas, that the 
skirmish had taken place. Yet, after all, they, the com- 
missioners, were willing to adjust the difficulty upon the 
basis of Governor Spotteswood's treaty, and furthermore 
to pay any reasonable demand which the Six Nations sup- 

1 This was in the year 1687. The following passage from the speech of 
the Six Nations on that occasion, was cited by the Virginia commissioners : 
"Brethren, you tell us the king of England is a very great king, and why 
should you not join with us in any just cause, where the French join with 
our enemies in a very unjust cause? brethren, we see the reason of this ; 
for the Frenoh would fain kill us all, and when that is done, they would 
carry all the beaver trade to Canada, and the great king of England would 
lose the land likewise ; and therefore, great sachem, beyond the great 
lakes, awake, and suifer not those poor Indians, that have given themselves 
and their lands under your protection, to be destroyed by the French 
without a cause." 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 103 

posed themselves to have for the territory they claimed, chap. 
although, as they had been informed, the southern Indians >—v—> 
were claiming the same lands. 1744 - 

It is quite probable that in all these discussions, there 
was duplicity on both sides. The Indians saw that their 
own importance was magnified by the condition of the 
country; while the commissioners, for the same cause, 
were prepared to accede, to a considerable extent, even 
to groundless claims, rather than give such umbrage to 
the Indians as might by any possibility drive them over to 
the French. 

The Virginians were answered by a Cayuga chief named 
Gachradodow — a name which appears in this negotiation 
only, so far as I am acquainted with Indian history. Ad- 
dressing "Brother Assaragoa" — "The world," said he, 
at the first, was made on the other side of the great water, 
very different from what it was on this side, as may be 
known from the different colors of our skin and our flesh ; 
and that which you call justice, may not be so among us. 
The great king might send you over to conquer the In- 
dians, but it looks to us that God did not approve of it. 
If He had, He would not have placed the great sea be- 
tween us where it is. Though great things are remem- 
bered among us, yet we don't remember that we were 
ever conquered by the great king, or that we have been 
employed by that king to conquer others. If it was so, 
it is beyond our memories. We do remember we were 
employed by Maryland to conquer the Conestogas, and the 
second time we were at war with them, he carried them all 
off." Gachradodow next proceeded to explain their conduct 
respecting the Catawbas. They had, it was true, at Al- 
bany, when their brother Assaragoa sent them some belts 
of wampum from the Cherokees and Catawbas, agreed to a 
peace with those nations, on the condition that they 
should send some of their great men " to confirm it face 
to face." The Cherokees came, and after the peace was 
confirmed, the Six Nations escorted them back to their 
own country in safety. But the Catawbas refused to 



104 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, come, and sent a taunting message. " They sent word 
w Y _ / that we were but women ; that they were men, — double 
1 1 44. meil) — an( j that they would be always at war with us. They 
have been treacherous, and know it ; so that the war must 
be continued till one of us is destroyed. Be not troubled 
at what we do to the Catawbas." The orator proceeded 
to touch upon other points in the speech of the Virginia 
commissioners, — but intimated that if the goods they had 
brought were sufficient in quantity and value, their diffi- 
culties might be adjusted. " You told us that you had a 
chest of goods, and the key in your pocket. But we 
have never seen the chest, or the goods. It may be small, 
and the goods few. We want to see them, and come to 
some conclusion. We have been sleeping here these ten 
days, and have done nothing to the purpose." 

The public discussions of the land questions, of which 
I have barely attempted to sketch the leading features, 
ceased at this point. It had been all along evident that 
the Indians were willing to grant whatever Maryland and 
Virginia desired ; while, as has been seen, both of those 
colonies, while in terms denying the Indians any rights in 
the premises, were from policy disposed to buy them off 
at reasonable sums. The commissioners having prepared 
maps of the districts, the Indian title to which they were 
now finally to extinguish, and the Indians having assented 
thereto, the goods to be given in consideration were 
brought for the examination of the purchasers. By a 
previous stipulation with Mr. Thomas, Virginia was to pay 
one hundred pounds value in goods, to heal the border 
skirmish in which Captain M'Dowell fell. To this amount 
was now added two hundred pounds in goods, and one 
hundred in gold. The commissioners of Maryland, also, 
as an equivalent for the disputed land already in their 
possession, proposed a payment of goods to the amount of 
two hundred pounds, and a like addition of one hundred 
pounds in gold. The negotiation was thus closed, and 
the deeds executed. The lands in Maryland were " con- 
firmed to Lord Baltimore with definite limits. The deed 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOUNSON, BART. 105 

to Virginia extended the claim of that colony indefinitely chap. 
to the west and northwest." 1 But in executing this lastw^ 
conveyance, the Indians stipulated that their case should 1744> 
be commended to the consideration of the great king, 
should their brother Assaragoa push his settlements yet 
farther back beyond the line of their " great road" — the 
right to which road was again confirmed. But vaki were 
all these stipulations to save the red man from his doom ! 
These matters having thus been adjusted to the satisfac- 
tion of the parties, it was determined by the Maryland 
commissioners to give the chiefs by special invitation, a 
grand entertainment, — at which, of course all the dis- 
tinguished gentlemen in attendance upon the council were 
guests. Twenty-four Indian dignitaries attended the feast, 
which was served with uncommon preparation and cere- 
mony, in the court-house, Governor Thomas presiding. 
Five tables were spread, the sachems being seated by 
themselves, with Canassateego at their Jhead. " The chiefs 
seemed prodigiously pleased with their feast, for they fed 
lustily and drank heartily," says honest Witham Marshe. 
After dinner, being warmed into a glow of good feeling, the 
Indians, through the interpreter, informed Governor Tho- 
mas, that as Lord Baltimore, the proprietary and governor 
of Maryland was not known to the Indians by any particular 
name, they had agreed in council to take the first conve- 
nient opportunity when a large company should be present, 
to confer one upon him. Such a transaction being with 
them a matter of great form and ceremony, the deputies 
of the several nations had drawn lots for the honor of per- 
forming it, and the lot had fallen upon the Cayugas, who 
had designated their chief Gachradodow for that purpose. 
The name with .which the lord baron of Baltimore was 
then honored was Tocarry-hogon, "denoting precedency, 
excellency, or living in the middle, or honorable place be- 
tween Assaragoa and our brother Onas, by whom our 
treaties may be the better carried on." The ceremony 



1 Bancroft's United States. 
14 



106 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. was performed "with all the dignity of a warrior, the 
<-^ — ; gesture of an orator, and in a very graceful posture." 1 
1744. All the differences between the Indians and their broth- 
ers Tocarry-hogon and Assaragoa having thus been adjust- 
ed, and some explanations having been interchanged be- 
tween Onas and the chiefs, respecting the murder by a 
party of Delawares, of an Indian trader, named John 
Armstrong, and two of his men, and also in regard to the 
alleged murder of several Indians on the Ohio, by white 
men ; and the lieutenant-governor having congratulated 
the council upon the happy issue of their deliberations, 
the next business in hand was to sound the chiefs on the 
yet more important subject of the French war. Rehears- 
ing, as Governor Clinton had done at Albany, the story of 
the battle of Dettingen, for the purpose of magnifying the 
personal prowess of the king, and the sea-fight of Toulon, 
and announcing the declarations of war that had followed 
those transactions, Mr. Thomas reminded them of their 
obligations by treaty to assist their brethren of Pennsylva- 
nia against the French, and especially to prevent them 
from passing through their country to make war upon the 
English. 

A conciliatory speech was then delivered by the Vir- 
ginia commissioners, in which they were urged by all 
means to make peace with the Catawbas, in order that 
they might be the better prepared to meet their common 
enemies, the French and Spaniards. They closed by in- 
viting them to send some of their promising youths to 

1 Witham Marske, — who adds — " This Gachradodow is a very celebrated 
warrior, and one of the Cayuga chiefs, about forty years of age, tall, 
straight-limbed, and a graceful person, but not so fat as Canassateego. 
His action, when he spoke, was certainly the niost graceful, as well as 
bold, that any person ever saw ; without the buffoonery of the French, or 
the over-solemn deportment of the haughty Spaniards. When he made the 
complimentary speech on the occasion of giving the new name to Lord Balti- 
more, he was complimented by the governor (Thomas), who said, ' that he 
would have made a good figure in the forum of old Rome.' And Mr. Com- 
missioner Jennings declared, ' that he had never seen so just an action in 
any of the most celebrated orators he had heard speak.' " — Witham Marshe. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 107 

Virginia, to be instructed in the religion, language and chap. 
customs of the white people. >— y— j 

The chiefs required a day for special reflection, before 17 
replying to these addresses. Meantime, said Canassatee- 
go, archly, " You tell us you beat the French. If so, you 
must have taken a great deal of rum from them, and can 
the better spare us some of that liquor to make us rejoice 
with you in the victory !" 

On the next day Canassateego delivered a formal reply 
to each of their addresses in order. He admitted that 
their people were bound by the faith of treaties to take 
part in the French war. " We have all the particulars of 
these treaties in our hearts. They are fresh in our mem- 
ory. We shall never forget that we have but one heart, 
one head, one eye, one ear, and one hand. We shall have 
all your country under our eye, and take all the care we 
can to prevent any enemy coming into it." As an evi- 
dence at once of their fidelity and precaution, he said they 
had sent a message to Younondio, informing him that 
" there was room enough at sea to fight, where he might 
do what he pleased ; but he should not come through our 
country to fight the English." The Six Nations, he added, 
had great authority over sundry tribes of Indians in alli- 
ance with the French, especially over "the praying In- 
dians, formerly part with ourselves, who stand in the very 
gates of the French ; and to show our care, we have en- 
gaged these very Indians for you. They will not join the 
French against you." 1 • 

In reply, specially, to his "Brother Assaragoa," Canas- 
sateego said, referring to their war against the Catawbas, 
" they are spiteful and offensive." Yet, although "they 
have treated us contemptuously," the Six Nations were 
willing to make peace with them, if they would come to 



real. 



1 These "praying Indians," were the Caughnawagas, residing near Mont- 

ol 



1744. 



108 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, the north and treat for it. In reply to the invitation to 
v— y— < send some of their children to Virginia to he educated, he 
replied : "Brother Assaragoa, we must let you know that 
we love our children too well to send them so great a way. 
The Indians are not inclined to give their children educa- 
tion. We allow it to be good. "We thank you for the 
invitation; but our customs being different from yours, 
you must excuse us." 1 When acknowledging the gifts 
they had received from the proprietaries, the veteran ora- 
tor was evidently affected in the contemplation of their own 
poverty, and the gloomy anticipations as to the fate of his 
race which he was too sagacious a man not to foresee : 
"We have provided a small present for you; but, alas! 
we are poor, and shall ever remain so, as long as there are 
so many Indian traders amongst us. Their' s and the white 
people's cattle eat up all the grass, and make deer scarce. 
However, we have provided a small present for you." 
Saying which he presented three bundles of skins, one for 
each of the colonies represented in council. 

Toward the conclusion of the council, while the several 
parties to it were engaged drinking healths, and exchang- 

1 Doctor Franklin, in his miscellaneous works, has given a more extended 
report of Canassateego's reply to the invitation. In addition to this re- 
mark which I have quoted from Colden's official account of the treaty, 
Franklin reports Canassateego to have continued his speech thus: "We 
have had some experience in this sending of our children to your schools. 
Several of our young people were formerly brought up at the colleges of 
the northern provinces ; they were instructed in all your sciences ; but 
when they came back to us, they were bad runners ; ignorant of every 
means of living in the woods ; unable to bear either cold or hunger ; knew 
neither how to build a cabin, take a deer, or kill an enemy ; spoke our 
language imperfectly ; were therefore neither fit for hunters, warriors, or 
counselors ; they were totally good for nothing. We are however, not the 
less obliged by your kind offer though we decline accepting it, and to show 
our grateful sense of it, if the gentlemen of Virginia will send us a dozen 
of their sons, we will take care of their education, instruct them in all we 
know and make men of them." This addition to the sachem's real speech, 
was doubtless one of Franklin's pleasantries. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 109 

ing parting compliments, Canassateego playfully remarked chap. 
to Mr. Thomas, that they had given them Drench glasses >— v— » 
to drink their liquor in. " We desire you to give us some ' ' 
in English glasses." The governor saw the point at which 
the shrewd savage was arriving, — the English glasses be- 
ing the largest, — and improved the occasion by the ready 
reply : " Yes. "We are glad to hear you have such a dis- 
like to what is French. They cheat you in your glasses 
as well as in everything else." 



CHAPTER III. 

1744 _ 1745. 

criAp. The repose which, the colonies had so long enjoyed 
w^ under the administration of Sir Robert "Walpole, — owing, 
1744. probably, not more to the policy of that minister than to 
the pacific temper of the duke of Orleans, — the regent of 
France during the minority of Louis XV, 1 — was of course 
ended by the receipt of the declaration of war against 
France, as stated in the preceding chapter. Indeed the 
news of this declaration had not reached New England, 
before Duquesnel, the French governor of Cape Breton, 
resolving upon the destruction of the English fishery on 
the north-eastern coast of Nova Scotia, or Acadia, as it 
was called by the French, invaded the island Canseau, 
burnt the houses, and made prisoners both of the garrison 
and the inhabitants. 2 Attempts were likewise made by 
the French upon Placentia, in Newfoundland, and upon 
Annapolis in Nova Scotia, in both of which enterprises 
they were unsuccessful, — owing to a miscarriage of the 
plan in one instance, and to the timely arrival of several 
companies of militia and rangers from Massachusetts, in 
the other. 3 

The flames of war having thus been lighted in the 
north, it required no special gift of prophecy to perceive 
that they would soon blaze along the whole lines of the 
English and French colonies, from Cape Breton to the 

1 Marshall's Introduction. 

2 Belknap. 

3 Idem. See also Marshall. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. Ill 

trading posts of Detroit and Michilimackinac, or Macki- chap. 
naw, according to the orthography of later times. "What ^— v— ' 
rendered the pending war yet more frightful to the inhab- ' 
itants of both of these extended chains of rival colonies, 
was the fact that a broad belt of territory between them, 
was peopled exclusively by the Indians, — ever ready to 
snuff blood in the breeze, — and generally disposed to rush 
forth upon the war-path at every opportunity. In fact the 
Micmacs, the Abenakies and Etchmims, or the canoe-men 
of St. John's river, with perhaps the remains of other and 
lesser tribes of the eastern Indians, whose partialities in- 
clined ever toward the French, had already taken part 
with them in their expedition against Annapolis. These 
Indians, twenty years before, had been declared by resolu- 
tion of the Massachusetts government, to be traitors and 
robbers ; x and a formal declaration of war was now pro- 
claimed against them, by that colony, with a bounty for 
scalps and prisoners. 2 

The declaration of hostilities was announced to the 
general assembly of New York, by Governor Clinton, at 
an adjourned session opening on the eighteenth of July, 
as a measure that had become indispensable to the honor 
and dignity of the crown, not only because of the attack 
upon the Mediterranean fleet, but above all because of the 
movements of France in behalf of the pretender. Immedi- 
ate and strong measures were urged for the security of the 
city of New r York, and for the general defence of the colony, 
especially of the frontiers. Measures, it was intimated, had 
already been taken for strengthening the posts of Oswego 
and Saratoga. In speaking of his interview with the In- 
dians at Albany, it was stated that commissioners from 
Massachusetts and Connecticut were also present, the ob- 
ject of whose visit was to aid in cultivating a more firm 

1 Bancroft. 

2 Belknap. 



112 LIFE OP 8IR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, and extensive alliance with that people. Their mission 
> — » — • was a source of gratification to all parties. They were 
moreover clothed with full powers to enter into a strict 
union with New York and the other English colonies, for 
the purpose of devising and executing proper measures 
for the prosecution of the war offensively and defensively. 
Power was asked to enable the governor to appoint like 
commissioners to confer with them. The fitting out of 
privateers for the protection of the coast was also recom- 
mended, — not forgetting the supplies and the adoption of 
all such measures as would enable his excellency to sup- 
port the power and dignity of the government, and pursue 
every method for its safety. 

The speech was followed, on the twenty-fourth of July, 
with a special message setting forth the measures that had 
been taken by the executive for the security both of the 
city and the frontiers; and making requisitions for all 
such farther measures as were judged essential to the pub- 
lic defence. For the protection of Albany and the scat- 
tered settlements north of it, the governor strongly urged 
the erection of a strong fort in the neighborhood of Crown 
Point. As such a work would be calculated as well to 
guard the frontiers of the New England colonies as those 
of New York, it was suggested that it should be con- 
structed at the joint expense of all. Some farther mea- 
sures of defence had been adopted at Oswego ; and it was 
recommended with great propriety that a strong fort 
should be built at Tierondequot, or at some other suitable 
point in the Seneca country, — as well for the defence of 
that country against invasion, as by means of a strong 
garrison, to check the wavering propensities of the Sene- 
cas, — the strongest of the Confederates, and the most 
easily tampered with by the French. Yet another mes- 
sage of a similar character, was sent down to the assembly 
on the thirty-first of July, recommending the erection of 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 113 

various works of defence for the harbor of New York ; chap. 
announcing the organization of a corps of rangers from « — v — - 
the militia of Albany, to include a number of Indians, 1 ' 
whose business it should be to traverse the country north 
to Canada, as perpetual scouts. The sending of troops to 
be stationed at Albany, was also recommended. 

The precipitate and cowardly retreat of the English 
traders from Oswego, immediately on hearing of the de- 
claration of war, elicited still another executive communi- 
cation on the twentieth of August. This desertion of the 
trading houses had created a very unfavorable impression 
upon the minds of the Indians, particularly the remote 
nations, who, on coming thither to trade, had found the 
place really deserted, and the goods mostly brought away. 
The assembly were therefore earnestly urged to adopt the 
necessary measures for maintaining that important post, 
as a commanding mart for trade with the Indians, upon a 
more ample and efficient basis than had existed before. 
Disadvantages, other than such as might arise from a loss 
of trade, were apprehended by the governor. The Indians, 
inspired with contempt for the courage of men frightened, 
as it were, by a shadow, with the fall of Oswego, would 
be very likely to desert the English interests for the 
French. , 

The spirit of the general assembly was good. Resolu- 
tions were promptly passed by the house, nemine contradi- 
cente, pledging the ways and means for putting the colony 
in a suitable posture of defence by sea and land. In con- 
sequence of the demonstration made in Scotland "in favor 
of a Popish pretender," a resolution was adopted requir- 
ing all persons in the colony to take the oaths prescribed 
by act of parliament for the security of the government 
and the Protestant religion. Bills making liberal appro- 
priations, — liberal considering the means of the colony, — 
for the public exigencies were initiated and in progress, 
when on the fourth of September, another message was 

15 



114 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, received from the governor, calculated yet more rapidly 
*— v — 'to accelerate their action. It covered a communication 
' from the commissioners of Indian affairs of an alarming 
character. Information had been received by a secret 
messenger from Canada, that, contrary to the declarations 
of Canassateego, at Lancaster, as to the temper and de- 
signs of the Cauglmawagas, they, with the other Canadian 
Indians, had taken up the hatchet against the English, and 
the fall of Oswego was considered inevitable, unless its 
feeble garrison could be reinforced. 1 Information respect- 
ing the designs of the French upon that post, had also 
been received by the Six Nations. 

This communication was considered so important that 
at the instance of Doctor Colden and Mr. Murray, of the 
council, a conference was held between the two houses in 
order to insure prompt and efficient action for the public 
welfare. Chief Justice De Lancey opened the delibera- 
tions of the conference, and after an interchange of opin- 
ions it was determined to apply to the governor for the 
addition of fifty men to the garrison of Oswego, and also 
for orders to the militia of Albany to hold themselves in 
instant readiness to march to the defence of that post in 
the event of an invasion. A joint address in accordance 
with these recommendations was made to the governor, 
in which the assembly pledged itself " cheerfully to con- 
tribute everything in its power for the defence and safety 

1 The commissioners at that time, signing this communication, were 
Messrs. Myndert Schuyler, Abraham Cuyler, Cornelius Cuyler, Dirck Ten 
Broeck, Nicholas Bleecker, Johannis Lansing, and John Depeyster. Among 
other matters detailed in the letter, was an account of their proceedings 
under an order from the governor to send Captain Walter Butler, with his 
son as an interpreter, upon a confidential errand to Oswego. The governor 
had enjoined perfect secrecy as to this mission ; but the commissioners 
state that the fact was known in Albany before they had opened his excel- 
lency's dispatches. An admirable commentary this, upon the manner in 
which secrets are usually kept, in all times, in peace as in war. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 115 

of the colony, and for repelling any attempt of the chap. 
enemy." » — v — ; 

Difficulties were experienced in regard to the ways and ' 
means, arising chiefly from the reluctance of the popular 
branch, no uncommon thing in representative govern- 
ments, to meet the question of direct taxation. Yet the 
liberality of their appropriations attested the general pa- 
triotism of the members. Special allowances were voted 
for the defences of Albany and Schenectady, and the 
round sum of three thousand two hundred pounds was 
granted in addition for the defence of the colony at large. 
Provision was likewise made for the support of the pris- 
oners who had been brought into ISTew York, pursuant to 
a suggestion of the governor, — who was commended in 
an address for his clemency, and requested to relieve the 
colony from the presence of those prisoners, and others 
that might be brought in, with all convenient dispatch. 

Thus far in the session, no action had taken place in the 
house in regard to the propositions from the New England 
colonies for effecting a general alliance among the Indians 
friendly to the English, and also for a closer bond of union 
between the colonies, in order to the more efficient con- 
duct of the war. Upon these points Governor Shirley was 
particularly anxious ; and on the eighteenth of September 
Mr. Clinton sent a message to the assembly, covering 
an urgent letter from Shirley, and expressing surprise 
that the assembly had done nothing hitherto to enable 
him to appoint commissioners to meet those in attend- 
ance from Massachusetts and Connecticut, and confer 
together in a matter that must redound so much to the 
benefit of the colony. Instead, however, of complying 
with this request, the house sent up to the governor an 
address, reminding his excellency of the liberality of their 
appropriations, — ample, as they conceived, for the public 
exigencies, — but expressing a strong reluctance to any 
action upon the subject of the proposed plan of union. 



116 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. They thought they ought not to enter upon any scheme 
> — , — - the details of which had not been imparted to them that 
they might have an opportunity of exercising their own 
judgments upon it. This address was communicated by 
the governor to his council on the twenty-first of Septem- 
ber, and a protracted conference between the two branches 
ensued ; including also, another point of difference, viz : 
a refusal by the house, of an appropriation to erect a fort 
at the carrying-place between the Hudson river and Crown 
Point. The managers on the part of the council, De Lan- 
cey and Murray, presented urgent reasons in favor of ap- 
pointing commissioners to meet those from the other colo- 
nies, for the organization of a league, or an alliance, 
against the French ; as, for instance, the advantages of 
united action, — the increase of strength, — the confidence 
with which it would inspire the friendly Indians, — the 
discouragements which such a union would throw in the 
way of the French. The importance, likewise, of erecting 
the proposed military work at the carrying-place, was ably 
urged. 1 But without success. No appropriation was 
made either for the Indian alliance, or for the commis- 
sioners, or for the erection of the fortress ; and the assem- 
bly adjourned, not meeting again until March, 1745. 

The autumn and winter were passed with uncertainty 
as to the temper and intentions of the Six Nations, and 
with considerable anxiety. At the close of September, 
dispatches were received from the Indian commissioners, 
expressing lively anxiety for the fate of Oswego. The 
efforts of the commissioners to persuade the chiefs of the 
Six Nations to keep a number of their warriors from each 
of their tribes at Oswego for its defence, had been ineffect- 
ual. The French were active in their appliances to steal 
the hearts of that fickle people from the English, and had 
at that time no fewer than twelve emissaries among the 

1 Journals of the Legislative Council. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 117 

Senecas. Upon the receipt of these alarming reports, Mr. chap. 
Bleecker, the interpreter, was dispatched into the Seneca' — , — < 
country, with a message that to allow those emissaries to 
remain among them was breaking their covenant chain. 
The interpreter, however, returned in December with 
more favorable news. He had found but two Frenchmen, 
smiths, among the Senecas, and there were English smiths 
among them without molestation. It was not known to 
the Senecas that the French Indians had actually taken 
up the hatchet ; yet they were told that the French had 
entertained them at a war-feast, and joined with them in 
their dances, — carrying aloft the heads of the beasts they 
had slain, and declaring that thus would they dance with 
.the heads of the English. 1 Other reports, received by the 
governor and council from time to time during the winter, 
by correspondence and otherwise, tended to keep the eye 
of suspicion from slumber, and occasionally to quicken 
the public pulse. A deserter from the French post at 
Niagara, arrived in New York and was examined before 
the council on the twelfth of February, who gave a particu- 1745. 
lar description of the strength and armament of that fort- 
ress. He had traversed Canada, from Quebec, stopping 
at Three Rivers, and Cadaracqui, before his desertion. 
There were one hundred men at Niagara, with four pieces 
of cannon. Cadaracqui was a stone fortress, the walls 
twelve feet high, with four bastions, and garrisoned by 
two hundred men. Lieutenant Butler, at Oswego, wrote 
that a scout returned from Canada, reported the organiza- 
tion of a force of fifteen hundred men, with a body of In- 
dians, destined against that post in the spring. The 
French, moreover, were expecting large supplies from 
France. 2 

From the fickle disposition of the Indians, great caution 

1 Council Minutes. 

2 Idem. 



118 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, was observed in regard to their intercourse with white 
^—v — ■ people, whose nation, character, and designs, were known 
• and understood. The laws of the colony forbade the resi- 
dence of white men among the Indians, unless by ex- 
press permission. Under these laws, and the watchful 
policy observed, two men, David Seisberger, and Christian 
Frederick Post, having been found residing at the Canajo- 
harie castle, 1 without a license, were arrested in mid-win- 
ter and dragged to New York. On their examination 
before the council, however, they were found to be two 
worthy Germans, members of the Moravian congregation 
at the forks of the Delaware, who had been sent thither 
to learn the Mohawk language for missionary purposes. 
They were discharged as a matter of course. 2 Post had 
an Indian wife and family ; and it will be seen farther on 
that he afterward performed valuable services among the 
Indians on the Ohio. 

But, notwithstanding the alarms to which such a fron- 
tier as that of New York and New England, in such a 
contest, was liable, the winter passed away without active 
hostilities between the French and the English, — the pale 
faces, or the red. Yet this inactivity of matter did not 
extend to mind ; and it was during this season of com- 
parative repose, that William Shirley, governor of Massa- 
chusetts, suggested the plan for striking a blow at the 
power of France in America, which was as bold in its con- 
ception, as in its execution it was brilliant. 

1 Canajoharie, or, according to the orthography of the Rev. Samuel Kirk - 
land, who passed his life as a missionary among the Six Nations, Ca-na-jo- 
ha-roo, the name of a small river flowing into the Mohawk, near the mouth 
of which stood one of the Mohawk castles. The meaning of the word, lit- 
erally, is, " The-pot-tJiat-washes-itsdf" applied to a large and beautiful ba- 
sin, worn in the rock which forms the bed of the stream two miles back 
from the Mohawk, by the whirling action of the water falling from one of 
the cascades abounding upon this stream. This basin is perhaps twenty 
feet in diameter ; but the water has been directed to a mill-wheel. 

2 Council Minutes. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 119 

The harbor of Louisburg, on the south-eastern side of chap. 

°' in. 

the island of Cape Breton, was considered the key to the >_ Y _, 

American possessions of the French. By the treaty of 1745 - 
Utrecht, Newfoundland and Novia Scotia, including the 
island of Canseau, had fallen to the crown of Great Bri- 
tain, while by the same instrument Cape Breton, situated 
between them in the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 
had been ceded to the French. Affording convenient har- 
bors for the reception and security of ships of every bur- 
den — either for men of war, or ships engaged in com- 
merce between the parent country and her Canadian pos- 
sessions, or those of the West Indies, — this island had 
become of vast importance to France, as a security to her 
own navigation and fisheries, and also as affording in time 
of war, great facilities for interrupting the fisheries and 
navigation of England and her colonies. 1 It was there- 
fore determined to build a fortified town upon this island, 
for the site of which the most commodious bay upon the 
south-eastern side was chosen. It had formerly been called 
"English harbor," but the name was changed to Louis- 
burg. Twenty-five years of labor, and thirty millions of 
livres, had been expended upon the fortifications, which 
were now deemed almost impregnable. Indeed it was 
called the Dunkirk of America. 2 " Upon a neck of land 
on the south side of the harbor was built the town, two 
miles and a quarter in circumference ; fortified in every 
accessible part with a rampart of stone, from thirty to 
thirty-six feet high, and a ditch eight feet wide. A space 
about two hundred yards was left without a rampart, on 
the side next to the sea, inclosed by a simple dyke and a 
line of pickets. There were six bastions and three bat- 
teries, containing embrasures for one hundred and forty- 
eight cannon, of which sixty-five only were mounted, and 

1 Belknap. 

2 Marshall's Colonial History. 



120 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



C ii£ P ' s i xteen mortars. On an island at the entrance of the har- 
v — v — ' bor, was planted a battery of thirty cannon, being tw T enty- 
' eight pounders ; and at the bottom of the harbor, directly 
opposite to the entrance, was the grand or royal battery 
of twenty-eight cannon, — forty-two pounders, — and two 
eighteen pounders. On a high cliff opposite to the island 
battery, stood a lighthouse ; and within the harbor, at the 
north-east part, was a magazine of naval stores. The 
town was regularly laid out in squares, with broad streets, 
built up with houses, mostly of wood, but some of stone. 
On the west side, near the rampart, was a spacious citadel, 
and a large parade ; on one side of which were the gover- 
nor's apartments. Under the ramparts were casemates to 
receive the women and children during a siege. The en- 
trance to the town, on the land side, was over a draw- 
bridge, near to which was a circular battery, mounting six- 
teen twenty-four pounders ; and from its position, its re- 
duction was an object as desirable to the English as that 
of Carthage was to the Romans." 1 

From the prisoners taken at Canseau by the French, 
and sent into Boston the preceding year, and from other 
sources, Governor Shirley had obtained such information 
respecting the situation and condition of these formidable 
works, as induced him to form the project of a sudden 
invasion, with a view of carrying them either by surprise 
or by storm. Shirley had indeed conceived this bold and 
adventurous enterprise in the autumn of 1744, and written 
to the British ministry upon the subject, — dispatching his 
letter by the hand of an intelligent officer, who had been 
captured at Canseau, and whose knowledge of the locali- 
ties and strength of Louisburg, he doubted not would be 
available to the government. The enterprise was approved 
by the ministry, and orders were transmitted to Commo- 
dore "Warren, then commanding a squadron in the West 

1 Belknap. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 121 

Indies, in January, to proceed northward in the spring chap. 
and co-operate with the movements of Shirley. Of these « — , — < 
instructions the latter was apprised ; but impatient of ' 
delay he proceeded in his preparations for the expedition 
in anticipation both of the decision of the government, 
and the movements of Warren. These preparations were 
in truth accelerated by the ardent temperament of Colonel 
William Vaughan, of New Hampshire, a son of the lieu- 
tenant-governor of that state, and a man of a high and 
daring spirit, who, from the fishermen in his employ, had 
become well acquainted with the harbor and defences of 
the place it was intended to storm. Being in confidential 
correspondence with Governor Wentworth upon the sub- 
ject, Shirley's project was communicated to Vaughan, 
who embraced it with all the ardor which so noble an ex- 
ploit would be likely to inspire a man of his bravery and 
enthusiasm. Nothing, with him, was impracticable w T hich 
he had a mind to accomplish ; and so strong were his con- 
victions of the practicability of the conquest, that he 
would fain have undertaken it in mid-winter, believing 
that the walls might be scaled by the aid of the drifts of 
snow. 1 

Thus far the project had been kept a profound secret by 
Shirley himself, and the very few trust-worthy men to 
whom it had been confided. But early in January it be- 
came necessary for the governor to communicate his 
design to the general court, at whose hands he must ask 
for the means of its execution. Secrecy was yet desirable, 
to which end an oath of confidence was administered to 
the members before the plan was laid before them. Start- 
led at the magnitude of the project, as well as at its bold- 
ness, the proposition was at first rejected; but subse- 

1 It has been suggested, says Belknap, that the plan of this enterprise 
-was first suggested by Vaughan. Several other persons have claimed the 
like credit. I have discovered no good reason, however, for depriving 
Shirley of the honor of its conception. 
1G 



122 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, quently, advantage being taken of the absence of several 
^— v — ' members, the question was reconsidered, and the under- 
' ' taking was sanctioned by a majority of a single voice. 
Yet, nothing daunted, the governor proceeded to arrange 
his measures with characteristic energy. Circular letters 
were addressed to the governors of all the colonies south 
to Pennsylvania inclusive, invoking their assistance in the 
enterprise, and asking for the imposition of an embargo 
upon their ports. Armed with one of these missives, 
Vaughan, who had been awaiting the authorization of the 
expedition in Boston, rode back express to New Hamp- 
shire, the legislature of which was then in session. Went- 
worth, the governor, was already enlisted in the scheme ; 
and the legislature, catching fire from the enthusiasm of 
Vaughan, entered heartily into the project, and made the 
necessary grants for the quota of men and supplies ex- 
pected from that colony. Equal readiness to forward the 
enterprise was now manifested by the general court of 
Massachusetts ; and Shirley assumed the responsibility, in 
the face of his instructions from the crown, of sanctioning 
an extraordinary emission of bills of credit to meet the 
heavy expenditures to be incurred, — advising Wentworth 
to the same course. 1 Until the issuing of the circulars, 
moreover, the secret had been well kept ; nor, probably, 
would the disclosure then have been made, — at least not 
so soon, — had it not been for the unguarded fervor of one 
of the praying members of the general court, who, at the 
family altar, while earnestly invoking the favor of Heaven 
upon the enterprise, forgot that he was also speaking to 
human auditors. 

The colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island entered 
into the design in the finest spirit. New York would have 
done likewise, had the wishes of Governor Clinton been 

1 In Massachusetts fifty thousand pounds of bills were emitted for this ex- 
igency, and in New Hampshire thirteen thousand. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 123 

seconded by the general assembly. That body met by chap 
adjournment on the twelfth of March, and the session was>_^-> 
opened by a speech of a length and earnestness propor- 174 °* 
tionccl to the importance of the crisis. It commenced by 
announcing to the assembty the projected enterprise of 
Massachusetts and her sister colonies of New England 
against Louisburg, in retaliation, as it was alleged, for 
the attacks of the Freuch during the preceding year upon 
Annapolis-Royal. Governor Shirley had written him a 
pressing appeal for co-operation in this enterprise ; and 
concurring entirely in his views as to its importance, the 
governor informed the assembly that without awaiting 
their meeting, he had already acted in relation thereto, to 
the extent of his power and means. He had sent ten 
pieces of ordnance to Boston, with their necessary warlike 
implements ; and he called upon the assembly to respond 
to the invitation of Mr. Shirley, by contributing its full 
proportion to the expedition, the success of which would be 
of infinite advantage to the province. Aside from this 
great undertaking, farther measures for the defence of the 
colony of New York itself were strenuously urged. There 
was an absolute necessity for the erection of two addi- 
tional forts in the Indian country, not only for the protec- 
tion of the frontiers, but to give the Indians confidence, 
and afford them places of refuge in hours of disaster. 
Already, for want of these, they were evidently becoming 
cool and indifferent toward the English. He renewed the 
recommendation for an appropriation that would enable 
him to appoint commissioners to meet those of the other 
colonies which were disposed to form a bond of union for 
the common defence. The advantages to flow from such 
a league, were forcibly set forth, to which was added an 
expression of regret at the course the assembly had adopt- 
ed in relation to the proposition at the preceding session. 
It was indeed the expressed desire of his majesty, that in 
all important exigencies, the colonies should unite their 



124 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, councils, and their forces, for the common security. The 
w v — - speech, which was the longest thus far to be found in the 
" colonial journals, closed with an exhortation to unanimity 
and dispatch. 

The council promptly responded to the speech by an 
address, moved by Chief Justice De Lancey. It was an 
echo throughout, but especially in regard to the Louis- 
burg expedition. High praise was awarded to Massa- 
chusetts for the energy she was exerting in this matter, 
and the council closed by pledging the co-operation of 
New York. 1 But this pledge was not sustained by the 
house. There were several points of the speech which 
that body received unkindly — among which were the re- 
bukes which the governor had administered to it for neg- 
lecting his former recommendations, — particularly in 
regard to the proposed commissioners of union, and the 
appointment of a solicitor for the colony to attend to their 
interests in the parent country. Consciousness of their 
neglect of the public interests in those respects then, 
neither improved the temper of the members, nor prompt- 
ed them to a performance of the obligations of patriotism 
now. Toward the governor they were not only guilty of 
the discourtesy of returning him no address in answer to 
his speech, but they manifested no disposition to comply 
with either of his present recommendations. A special 
message, on the fourteenth of April, announcing the arrival 
of a large French force in Martinique, the destination of 
which it was apprehended might be against ~New York, 
did indeed arouse the assembly for a moment to the im- 
portance of providing some farther defences for the har- 
bor, and a conference with the council upon the subject 
was asked and granted. Still, although a show of liber- 
ality was exhibited in the appropriations proposed for this 
branch of the public service, the house sought to interfere 

1 Journals of the Legislative Council. 



LITE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 125 

with, what was claimed as a prerogative of the executive, chap. 
by specifications as to the manner in which the money < — ^— > 
should be expended, and designations of the points to be ' ' 
fortified — an interference, certainly, with the appropriate 
duties of the commander-in-chief. 

There was yet another cause of irritation on the part of 
the house, so early as the year 1709, the general assembly 
had found it necessary, in providing ways and means for 
the public service, — especially in the prosecution of the 
several wars in which the colony had been involved by 
the parent government, — 'to issue a paper currency called 
bills of credit. The operation had been repeated from 
time to time, in emergent cases, — sometimes with the 
approbation of the crown, and sometimes not, — until 
these paper issues had become a part of the policy of the 
colony. Others of the colonies, laboring under the same 
necessities, had resorted to the same measures of finance ; 
but to which the crown, jealous of its prerogative in all 
matters of currency, had uniformly been opposed. For 
many years, therefore, antecedent to this period, the royal 
governors had arrived in the colony clothed with instruc- 
tions against allowing farther emissions of bills of credit ; — 
instructions, however, which the stern law of necessity 
had seldom allowed them to enforce. Still the crown, 
keenly alive to every step of independent action on the 
part of the colonies, was persisting in its war against a 
colonial currency even of paper; and a bill was now before 
parliament upon the subject, which gave great alarm to the 
people. Professedly, its design was merely for preventing 
these bills of credit from being made a legal tender ; but 
it was discovered that the bill was to have a far more 
extensive operation, — "obliging and enjoining the legisla- 
tures of every colony to pay strict obedience to all such 
orders and instructions as might from time to time be 
transmitted to them, or any of them, by his majesty or 
Ms successors, or by or under his or their authority." 



126 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Such an act, it was justly held, " would establish an abso- 
v-^—/ lute power in the crown, in all the British plantations, 
1745, that would he inconsistent with the liberties and privi- 
leges inherent in an English man, while he is in a British 
dominion." l 

Vexed with themselves, and with the governor, for rea- 
sons already mentioned, and still more for their own re- 
missness in not having made seasonable provision for a 
resident agent in London to watch over the interests of 
the colony, and who might perhaps successfully oppose 
this bill, — the house evinced a disposition, without any 
sufficient reason, as it seems to me, to thwart the governor 
upon every point. In addition to the discourtesies here- 
tofore mentioned, in regard to the erection of fortifica- 
tions, "it ordered the city members to inquire for and 
consult some engineer ; intimated a design to lessen the 
garrison at Oswego ; declined the project of a guard-ship ; 
rejected the renewed recommendation for appointing joint 
commissioners to treat with the Indians for mutual de- 
fence ; voted but three thousand pounds toward the Louis- 
burg expedition; and declined the provision of presents 
for the Indians." 2 

It was very evident that no good could result from the 
action of an assembly between which, and the governor 
such an unpleasant state of feelmg existed. The session 
had been extended already to more than two months, and 
nothing had been done for the public defence*. Even the 
bill making the paltry appropriation of three thousand 
pounds toward the New England expedition, had not 
passed the council. Indeed only four bills, and those of 
no great importance, were awaiting the approval of the 

1 Bee report of a committee of the house of assembly, colonial journals, 
March 15, 1745. 

2 Smith's History of New York, vol. ii, pp. 90, 91. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 127 

governor. 1 In this situation of affairs, the governor, in no chap. 
very pleasant humor, on the fourteenth of May required >— v— ' 
the assembly to meet him in the council chamber, in order ' 
to its dissolution. In his speech on the occasion, the gov- 
ernor said he was prompted to that measure by many 
reasons. From an inspection of their journals he observed 
they were bringing their proceedings to a close, without 
having heeded most of the recommendations he had made 
to them in his former speeches and messages, although the 
greater part of those recommendations had been confined 
exclusively to the public service. It was, indeed, true that 
he had expected but little from them after the disrespect 
they had manifested toward him by omitting to present 
an answer to his speech. But, notwithstanding this mark 
of disrespect, such had been his anxiety for the welfare of 
the province that he had paid no attention to it, — having 
made to them from time to time all necessary communi- 
cations, and given them all the information relating to 
the state of the colony, within his power. Nothing 
that could enlighten them had been withholden. He 
spoke of difficulties threatening commotions among the 
Indians. He had signified to the assembly the necessity 
of frequent interviews with these people, and of making 
them presents, in order to retain their confidence, allay 
their disquietudes, and renew their treaties. No respect 
had been paid to his recommendations upon this subject, — 
nor for the erection of the forts wanted in the interior, — 
nor even for the payment of scouts, and the adoption of 
such other prudential measures as were necessary for the 
security of the frontier settlers. He spoke of the con- 

1 One of these four bills was for the encouragement of privateering. 
Another was a bill, originating in the house, which was passed by the 
council, on the tenth of May, to prevent the slaves in the city of Albany 
from running away to Canada. By this act the crime was declared a capi- 
tal offence, and the council so amended the bill that the offender was to be 
put to death " without benefit of clergy." 



128 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, tempt with which they had treated the petition of the 
*-— , — s people north of Albany, who were alarmed at the conduct 
' of the Indians; and of the indecency of their conduct 
toward him in connection with that petition. Yet, so 
far as his own individual feelings were concerned, he said 
he could almost overlook all their ill treatment of himself, 
could he entertain the least hope of awakening them to a 
proper sense of their duty toward his majesty, and the 
people they represented ; but they had treated his majesty's 
orders, conveyed in a letter from the duke of Newcastle, 
with equal indifference, — having even misrepresented its 
contents, particularly in regard to certain orders to Commo- 
dore "Warren, and the service in which he was engaged. 
They had neglected to make provision for the maintenance 
and transportation home, of the French prisoners then 
in the city of ISTew York. Nor had they even made an 
appropriation for the money he had advanced, by the ad- 
vice of his majesty's council, for the defence of Oswego 
on the breaking out of the war. They had, moreover, 
undertaken to exercise the power of designating the points 
in the harbor to be fortified, and the number of guns tc 
be mounted at particular ports, and even directed the 
issues of gun-powder and other articles of war, without 
consulting the commander-in-chief, — thus in effect assum- 
ing the entire administration of the government, and 
arresting his majesty's authority from the hands of the 
governor. " Thus from an invincible untowardness on 
the one hand, or an immediate thirst for power on the 
other, they had become a dead-weight on the other branches 
of the government." They had " protracted the assembly 
to a most unreasonable length, without doing anything 
effective for the honor of his majesty or the service, credit, 
or security of the province or the people." He was there- 
fore constrained to put an end to the session; and the 
assembly was dissolved. 1 

1 See Journals of the Colonial Assembly. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 129 

Meantime the preparations of Governor Shirley, for the chap. 
invasion of Cape Breton, had "been pushed forward w r ith ^— v— * 
a degree of vigor characteristic of the sons of the Pilgrims 
when roused to action, and bent upon some achievement 
requiring energy and courage like their own. Indeed the 
expedition had embarked, and was 

"In brave pursuit of chivalrous emprise," 

weeks before the dissolution of Governor Clinton's re- 
fractory assembly, which, with a parsimony not usual to 
!N"ew York, had refused to contribute a single pound ster- 
ling toward the undertaking. 1 

The design of Shirley was to dispatch an army of at 
least four thousand men well appointed, and if possible 
to take Louisburg by surprise — calculating, — correctly 
as the event proved, — that the floes of ice prevailing in the 
waters of Cape Breton in the early weeks of spring, and the 
dense fogs, would prevent any communication by means of 
w r hich the enemy could be apprised of the intended inva- 
sion. The people caught the enthusiasm of their leaders ; 
and although not a recruit was mustered from beyond the 
confines of ]STew England, yet the full complement was 
promptly supplied. Massachusetts raised three thousand 
two hundred and fifty men ; Connecticut five hundred and 
sixteen ; and ISTew Hampshire three hundred and four, 2 — 

1( 'The government of New York," says Dunlop's imperfect and ill- 
digested history of the state, " was wise enough to join in this plan of con- 
quest, and sent field-pieces and other military equipments to Governor 
Shirley." Again, on the same page, Dunlop says : "New York contributed 
in money to this expedition, but had none of the honor of reducing Cape 
Breton." Neither of these statements conveys the exact truth. The 
cannon, as has been stated in the text, were sent by the governor of the 
colony, on his own responsibility — not by the government. Nor was any 
money contributed until after the great object of the expedition had 
been gained. Even then, the appropriation was beggarly. 

2 Belknap claims that, including the crew of an armed vessel furnished 
by New Hampshire, there were four hundred and fifty men commanded by 
Colonel Moore; and one hundred and fifty men more raised in that colony, 
and aggregated to a regiment of Massachusetts. 
17 



130 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

C nf P ' * n a ^' f° ur thousand and seventy. Three hundred men 
v —v-' were likewise raised in Rhode Island ; but they did not 
' reach the point of destination until the great object of the 
enterprise had been accomplished. These forces consisted, 
not of disciplined soldiers, but in the main of husband-, 
men and mechanics — unused to service, save as militia- 
men occasionally engaged in the border forays with the 
Indians, — or to the stern code of discipline under the law 
martial. Yet they went forth with a resolution, and per- 
formed their duties with a steadiness, that would have 
done credit to the veterans of the duke of Marlborough, 
or Turenne. The Connecticut division was commanded 
by Roger Wolcott, lieutenant-governor of that colony, 
bearing the commission of major-general. The command 
of the New Hampshire levies was entrusted to Colonel 
Samuel Moore. Vaughan, the bold adventurer from that 
colony, refused to accept any regular command ; but being 
appointed a member of the council of war, held himself in 
readiness for any special service or situation which might 
offer. The command in chief of the expedition was de- 
volved upon Colonel William Pepperell, a merchant of 
Kitberg, in what was then called the province of Maine, 
though subject to the colonial government of Massachu- 
setts, who was thereupon raised to the rank of lieutenant- 
general. His second in command, from Massachusetts, 
was Brigadier-General Waldo. The selection of a com- 
mander for an army of undisciplined volunteers, going 
upon a fatiguing and hazardous service, required the 
exercise of profound judgment, and a shrewd knowledge 
of character — qualities which were happily illustrated in 
the choice of William Pepperell. His profession had not 
been that of arms ; but he had probably had some expe- 
rience in the border service, not unfrequently in those 
days. He was, however, a man widely known, and ex- 
ceedingly popular, — of engaging manners, and a vigorous 














$n au 



• v// 




ut-~« 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 131 

frame. His mind was of the firmest texture ; his courage chap. 
doubted by none; and his reputation unblemished. These ^— y— / 
qualities, united with the most admirable coolness in sea- 1745- 
sons of danger, amply supplied in the public mind the 
lack of any very extensive military experience. 1 

Each of the colonies engaged in the enterprise, supplied 
all the vessels for transports, provision ships, and cruisers, 
in their power; and all things being in readiness, the 
Boston forces embarked from Nantasket, 2 on the twenty- 
fourth of March. Judging from the long and minute in- 
structions from Shirley to Pepperell, and also from a pri- 
vate letter from the former to Governor Wentworth, of 
New Hampshire, which has been preserved by Belknap, 
the governor of Massachusetts, though the author of the 
project, must have been wholly unskilled in both the arts 
of navigation and war. It had been his intention that the 
several divisions of the expedition should meet at a com- 
mon rendezvous, and the entire fleet sail in company. 
According to the letter to "Wentworth, it was his design, 
without making the least allowance in their sailing of 
different vessels, or for variations of wind, or for any 
other of the hundred casualties that might occur, that the 

1 The following curious passage occurs in Belknap's interesting account 
of this memorable expedition : " Before Pepperell accepted the command, 
he asked the opinion of the famous George Whitefield, who was then itinerat- 
ing and preaching in New England. Whitefield told him that he did not 
think the scheme very promising; that the eyes of all the world would be 
upon him ; that if he should not succeed, the widows and orphans of the 
slain would reproach him ; and if it should succeed, many would regard 
hhn with envy, and endeavor to eclipse his glory; that he ought, therefore, 
to go with "a single eye," and then he would find his strength proportioned 
to his necessities. Henry Sherburne, the commissary of New Hampshire, 
another of Whitefield's friend, pressed him to favor the expedition, and give 
a motto for the flag; to which, after some hesitation, Whitefield censented. 
The motto was, " Nil desperandum Christo duce." This gave the expedition 
the air of a crusade, and many of the missionary's followers enlisted. One 
of them, a chaplain, carried on his shoulder a hatchet, with which he in- 
tended to destroy the images in the French churches." 

' Nantasket road — the entrance into the harbor of Boston 



134 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

C h£ p ' ky ^ an( i an d water, but for a seasonable postscript appended 
w v _^ to the last-mentioned order, in these words : " Upon the 
• whole, notwithstanding the instructions you have received 
from me, I must leave you to act upon unforeseen emer- 
gencies according to your best discretion." It was indeed 
fortunate that this most important clause of the many folios 
of directions was given, since the expedition was detained 
at Canseau three whole weeks, waiting for the dissolution 
or removal of the ice which environed the islands, and, by 
coasting the bay of Chapeaurouge, or Gabarus, as it was 
called by the English, during all that period protected 
Cape Breton from invasion. 1 Indeed the absurdity of 
Shirley's original idea of keeping the squadron compactly 
together during the voyage, and of a simultaneous land- 
ing, regardless of ice, or storm, or fogs, or surf, was sig- 
nally illustrated by the event ; for what with tempestuous 
weather, and unequal sailing, the first point of destination, 
Canseau, was attained in the most desultory manner. 
Only twenty of the main squadron arrived with Pepperell; 
and more than a week elapsed before the vessels all came 
up. 2 But this time was not lost by the commanding gene- 
ral, whose vigilance in obtaining information was sleep- 
less, and whose activity in imparting discipline to his 
troops was untiring. A strong squadron of armed colonial 
vessels, under Captain Edward Tyng, commander of the 
Massachusetts frigate, was kept cruising off Louisburg, 
to cut oft' such of the enemy's vessels as might attempt 
either to enter or depart, and the prizes taken by them 
afforded valuable additions to the provisions of the army. 3 

1 Even the Rev. Dr. Belknap, whose trade was not of war, criticises 
these instructions, drawn, as he says, by a lawyer, to be executed by a 
merchant, at the head of a body of husbandmen and mechanics. 

2 Letter from General Pepperell to Governor Shirley. 

3 Letter of Pepperell to Shirley. Governor Shirley having directed Tyng 
to procure the largest ship in his power, he had purchased this ship when 
on the stocks, and nearly ready for launching. It was a ship of about four 
hundred tons, and was soon afterward launched at Boston. Tyng com- 
manded her and was appointed commander of the fleet. — Note in Holmes. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 135 

Although, as I have already said, the design of this chap. 
expedition had been communicated to the ministers of the - — ^-/ 
crown, in the expectation of receiving assistance thence, 1 ' 15 - 
yet it had been conducted thus far altogether upon the 
resources of the colonies themselves ; confident, to a con- 
siderable extent, in their own strength, yet anticipating 
such assistance. In the hope, moreover, of securing the 
co-operation of Commodore Warren, then in the West 
India seas, even before he could receive direct instructions 
from home, an express boat had been dispatched to him, 
communicating the project on foot, and requesting the aid 
at least of a detachment from his squadron. But on a 
consultation with his officers he was dissuaded from en- 
gaging in the enterprise; and the boat, conveying the 
news of this determination, returned to Boston two clays 
before the departure of the forces. 1 The intelligence, 
however, though unexpected, operated only as a partial 
discouragement, — strong confidence being entertained that 
Pepperell would be supported from England with ships 
and reinforcements of troops. 2 

The promotion of Captain Warren to the Superbe, of 
sixty guns, and his being left on the Antigua station by 
Sir Chaloner Ogle, as commodore of a small squadron, 
are circumstances in the career of this truly brave and 
illustrious man, that have already been noted. His suc- 
cess in making captures in the West India seas had 
been great; and perhaps his officers were reluctant to 
relinquish a genial winter climate, yielding such golden 
returns of prize-money, in exchange for the icebergs and 
bleak regions of the north. He had captured two French 
prizes on his way to Barbadoes a few months before ; 3 and 
while occupying a station off Martinique, his extraordinary 
activity was rewarded by more than twenty valuable prizes, 
one of which was estimated at two hundred and fifty thousand 

1 Marshall. 

2 Letter frem Shirley to Pepperell. 

3 MS. letter, Edward Holland to Johnson. 



136 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, pounds sterling. 1 But notwithstanding his refusal of aid 
v—y—/ to the expedition on the application of Governor Shirley, 
1745 - his orders from the admiralty, upon the subject, brought 
him upon the New England coast with the Launceton and 
Eltham, of forty guns each, in addition to his own ship, 
and in addition, also, to the Mermaid of the same force, 
by which he was joined shortly after his arrival. 2 With- 
out entering the harbor of Nantasket, the commodore 
placed himself in communication with Shirley, and having 
ascertained that the expedition had previously sailed, he 
proceeded directly to Canseau, where he arrived on the 
twenty-third of April ; and after a conference with Pep- 
perell, assumed the command of the naval forces by ex- 
press orders from the admiralty. Previous to his arrival, 
the colonial squadron, under Captain Tyng, had taken 
several prizes, — vessels laden chiefly with provisions, — 
which were received in good time by General Pepperell. 
The New Hampshire armed sloop had been remarkably 
successful, — she having captured a ship from Martinique, 
and with her, recaptured one of the transports which had 
fallen into the hands of the French on the day before 
"Warren's arrival. 

The two commanders having concerted their plans, 
Warren sailed to cruise off the harbor of Louisburg, 
where he was soon afterward joined by the Canterbury 
and Sunderland, of sixty guns each, and the Chester of 
fifty, all from England, which enabled him to institute a 
vigorous blockade. Meantime, the ice no longer effectually 
impeding the navigation, the general, after having sent 
out a detachment which destroyed the village of St. Peters, 
and scattered the inhabitants, embarked with his forces 
on the twenty-ninth of April, for the point of the grand 
attack. Shirley, even in his final instructions, had not 
altogether abandoned his original idea of a landing by 
night, and an assault by surprise ; so that Pepperell was 

1 Cbarnock. 

2 Idem. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 137 

still enjoined "to sail with the whole fleet from Cansean chap. 
so as to arrive in Chapeaurouge bay at nine, o'clock v-^— ' 
in the evening. The troops were to land in four 1745 - 
divisions, and proceed to the assault before morning. 
In the event of a failure of surprisal, particular direc- 
tions were given how to land, march, encamp, attack, 
and defend ; to hold councils and keep records ; and to 
send intelligence, and by what particular vessels ; x and a 
hundred other minute instructions were given, to be nullified 
daily by a hundred unforeseen contingencies. Obedience 
to the letter was out of the question. Instead of making 
the point designated in the evening, the falling of the 
wind brought them off the mouth of the bay only at 
eight o'clock the next morning — 2 "the intended surprisal 
being thus happily frustrated," as Belknap naively observes. 
But notwithstanding the long delay at Canseau, the block- 
ade of the cape by the ice and the fleet had been so ef- 
fectual, that no knowledge of the approach of an enemy 
had been received in Louisburg, and the appearance of 
the fleet of a hundred transports in the bay, was the first 
intimation they had of his proximity. 3 It was a moment 
of intense interest to the army when they came actually 
in sight of Louisburg. ," Its walls, raised on a neck of 
land on the south side of the harbor, forty feet thick at 
the base, and from twenty to thirty feet high, all swept 
from the bastions, surrounded by a ditch eighty feet wide, 
furnished with one hundred and one cannon, seventy-six 
swivels, and six mortars ; its garrison composed of more 
than sixteen hundred men ; and the harbor defended by 
an island battery of thirty twenty-two-pounders, and by 
the royal battery on the shore, having thirty large cannon^ 
a moat, and bastions, all so perfect that it was thought 
two hundred men could have defended it against five 

1 Belknap. See, also, the instructions at large, in the first volume Massa- 
chusetts Transactions. 

2 Letter of Pepperell to Shirley. 

3 Belknap. 

18 



138 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, thousand. 1 Yet, as though forgetful of these advantages 
w^—* of strength and position, nothing could exceed the con- 
1745 - sternation into which the inhahitants and garrison were 
thrown by this very unexpected visit. The governor made 
a feeble attempt to prevent the landing by sending out a 
detachment of one hundred and fifty men for that purpose ; 
but they were attacked with spirit and compelled to retire 
with the loss of several killed and a number who were 
made prisoners, — among whom were some persons of dis- 
tinction. These enemies having been thus summarily dis- 
posed of, the debarkation was effected without the loss of 
a man. In their flight the French burnt several houses 
situated between the grand battery and the town. Several 
vessels were also sunk in the harbor, but for what particu- 
lar design is not known. 

The enthusiasm with which the expedition had been 
undertaken by the citizen-soldiers, was unabated, and pre- 
parations were made for investing the city without delay. 
The point of debarkation was about a league from the 
town. The first column that advanced was led through 
the woods in sight of the town, by Colonel Yaughan, the 
daring spirit who had been so earnest from the first in 
urging forward the enterprise, find by whom the enemy 
showing himself upon the ramparts, was saluted with 
three cheers. On the night following, the second of May, 
Vaughan marched at the head of a detachment, composed 
chiefly of New Hampshire troops, to the northeast part of 
the harbor, where he burned the enemy's ware-houses, 
containing their naval stores, and staved in a large quantity 
of wine and brandy. The smoke of this conflagration, 
driven by the wind into the grand battery, so terrified the 
French that they precipitately abandoned it, spiking their 
guns, and retiring into the city. The next morning while 
reconnoitering the works with a small party of only thirteen 
men, observing that no smoke issued from the chimneys 
of the battery, Vaughan prevailed upon an Indian to enter 

1 Bancroft. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 139 

through an embrasure and open the gate. Immediate chap. 
possession was taken of the fortress, and one of the brave >— v— * 
fellows of the band climbed the flag-staff, carrying aloft a 1745, 
red coat in his teeth, which he hoisted in triumph as a 
banner. The French immediately sent out one hundred 
men to retake the battery ; but Vaughan held them at bay 
until a regiment arrived to his relief and the conquest was 
secured. The guns that had been spiked were mostly forty- 
two-pounders. 1 The trunnions had not been knocked off; 
and by active drilling, under the direction of Major Pom- 
roy, of Northampton, — a gun-smith when at home, 2 — 
about twenty of them were soon rendered fit for service. 
The greater number of these guns were intended for the 
defence of the harbor ; but four of them were brought to 
bear upon the town with great effect, — almost every shot 
being made to tell, and some of the balls falling upon the 
roof of the citadel. 3 The general was at a loss to con- 
jecture why the enemy abandoned so fine a battery, but 
concluded that it must have been occasioned by a deficiency 
of men. The French turned some of their guns against 
this battery, not without ' making some considerable im- 
pression upon its walls. Twice, also, in the course of ten 
days, they rallied out for its recovery, but in both in- 
stances were repulsed with loss. The loss of the Ameri- 
cans in this affair was very slight. 

The siege was pressed with vigor, but its prosecution 
was attended with almost incredible labor and difficulty. 
For fourteen successive nights the troops were employed 
in dragging their cannon from the landing place to the 
camp through a morass, so miry that neither cattle nor 
horses could be used for that purpose. The men sunk 
to their knees in the slough, and the cannon could only 
be drawn even upon sledges constructed for that purpose by 
Colonel Misseroe, who, fortunately was a carpenter before 

1 Letters of Pepperell to Shirley. 

2 Bancroft. 

3 Pepperell to Sim-ley. 



140 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, lie took to the profession of arms. What added essentially 
v^L, to the severity of this labor, was the circumstance that it 
!745. could only be performed in the night, or when curtained 
by the heavy fogs resting upon the island ; since the dis- 
tance was not only within view of the town, but within 
reaching distance of their cannon. 1 The approaches of 
the besiegers were not made with strategic regularity. 
Indeed the ears of a martinet would doubtless have been 
shocked at the barbarisms of the provincials in using, or 
attempting to use the technicalities of military science — 
or rather at the jesting and mockery which they made of 
them. 2 Still, the approaches were made, generally under 
cover of night ; and in ten days after the debarkation, 
they were within four hundred yards of the town, with 
cannon planted upon several commanding heights, while 
a fascine battery had been erected on the west side of 

1 The men who performed this severe service were much disappointed 
and chagrined when they found that it was not more distinctly acknowledged 
in the accounts which were sent to England, and afterward published. The 
siege was signalized by many meritorious exploits which were not men- 
tioned by General Pepperell in his dispatches, as, for instance, Vaughan's 
expedition on the night after the landing, and his seizure of the great bat- 
tery, with only thirteen men, on the next morning. 

2 Bancroft. There was doubtless much less of military seniority among 
the besiegers during this campaign, than would have been the fact in an 
army of regular soldiers ; and much less of strict military discipline than 
their commanding officers could have desired. "It has been said, "re- 
marks Mr. Belknap, " that this siege was carried on in a random, tumult- 
uary manner, resembling a Cambridge commencement. The remark is in 
a great measure true. Though the business of the council of war was con- 
ducted with all the formality of a legislative assembly ; though orders 
were issued by the general, and returns made by the officers of the several 
posts ; yet the want of discipline was too visible in the camp. Those who 
were on the spot have frequently, in my hearing, laughed at the recital of 
their own irregularities, and expressed their admiration when they reflected 
on the almost miraculous preservation of the army from destruction. They 
indeed presented a formidable front to the enemy ; but the rear was a scene 
of confusion and frolic. While some were on duty in the trenches, others 
were racing, wrestling, pitching quoits, firing at marks, or at birds, or 
running after shot from the enemy's guns, for which they received a bounty } 
and the shot was sent back to the city." 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 141 

the city upon which eight twenty-two-pounders were chap. 
mounted. • — y — < 

On the seventh^ of May, after a conference hetween the 1745 - 
naval and military commanders, it was agreed to summon 
Duchamboau, the French governor, to surrender. This 
summons having been refused, it was then determined to 
prosecute the siege in a yet more vigorous manner, and 
to attack the island battery, in boats, the first favorable 
opportunity. 1 It was a formidable undertaking. This 
"island battery" stood upon a small rock, almost inac- 
cessible, about two hundred yards long by twenty in 
breadth, with a circular battery of forty-two pounders 
commanding the entrance of the harbor, and a guard 
house and barracks behind. 2 On the eighteenth of May, 
the besiegers had thrown up a battery within two hundred 
yards of the western gate, whereon were mounted two 
forty-two, and two eighteen pounders, which annoyed the 
town considerably ; but several of the siege pieces of ord- 
nance were defective, and by bursting, or otherwise, were 
soon rendered useless. 3 Indeed there was great defective- 
ness in the equipments of the rank and file ; but the siege 
was, nevertheless, persisted in with the most indomitable 
perseverance. Between the eighteenth and twenty-eighth 
of the month five unsuccessful attempts were made by 
Pepperell to carry that battery, in the last of w T hich he lost 
nearly two hundred men, killed, and many more drowned, 
before they could land, besides several boats which w^ere 
shot to pieces. Although repulsed, the attack was bravely 
conducted. The troops who succeeded in landing made a 
noble stand, and an officer named Brookes nearly succeed- 
ed in striking the flag of the fortress. It was already half 
cloven when a French-Swiss, a dragoon, clove his skull 
with his cutlass. 4 The expediency of making yet another 

1 Letter from General Pepperell to Governor Shirley. 

2 Letter of "an old English merchant" to the earl of Sandwich. 

3 Pepperell's letters. 

4 Letter from "an old English merchant" to the earl of Sandwich. 



142 LIFE OF SIK WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, attempt upon this fortress was discussed in council, but 
>— ^ — - such was its strength, and the commanding advan- 
1745 - tage of its position, and so difficult was the landing ren- 
dered by the surf, that the project was abandoned as 
impracticable. 1 

During these operations upon land, Commodore Warren 
had been cruising off the harbor with splendid success. 
So closely wtis the entrance guarded that with the excep- 
tion of a single sloop laden chiefly with zinc, everything 
that attempted to get in was captured ; the consequence 
was that both town and garrison were soon reduced to 
great distress for provisions. A large ship, the Vigilante, 
commanded by the Marquis de la Maison Forte, from 
Brest, deeply laden with military and other supplies, 
having on board reinforcements to the number of five 
hundred and sixty men, and bringing also two or three 
years' pay for the troops 2 was known by Duchambeau to 
be on her passage, and great dependance was placed upon 
this arrival for relief But this, the governor's last hope, 
was cut off by Warren, — the ship having been decoyed 
by one of the frigates into the centre of his squadron and 
captured on the ninteenth of May — " almost without 
resistance.' 3 

1 Letter of Pepperell to Commodore Warren, in which he states the exact 
loss in killed, in the last abortive attack upon the island, at one hundred 
and eighty-nine. 

2 Letter from Madame Warren to her brother, Chief Justice De Lancey, 
written after the capture of the Vigilante. 

3 So says Charnock, in the Biographia Navalis. But Bancroft says the 
Vigilante " was decoyed by Douglass, of the Mermaid, and taken after an 
engagement of several hours." I have seen another authority in which 
Douglass is named as the captain of this ship. Yet there is doubt, upon 
the subject. Holmes, in a note, cites from Alden, the biographer of Captain 
Tyng, a statement that the Vigilante was taken by this officer, commanding, 
as we have seen, the Massachusetts provincial frigate. Other books and 
several private letters among the Johnson manuscripts attribute the cap- 
ture to Warren. As the commander of the squadron, it is settled in gene- 
ral history, that the credit in chief should be awarded to him. Alden's 
authority for awarding the particular credit to Tyng I do not know. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 143 

Although the island fortress had not yet been taken, chap. 
still a battery erected upon a high cliff at the light-house, - — , — - 
greatly annoyed it. Nevertheless, in the eye of Warren, 1<4 °- 
the operations of the siege advanced so slowly, that, impa- 
tient of delay, even after the capture of the Vigilante, 
having taken the opinion of a council of his officers, he 
wrote to Pepperell, proposing that a decisive blow should 
be struck by a combined attack by land and sea. The fogs 
were a great annoyance to the commodore, being often so 
dense, that it was impossible for him to communicate with 
his consorts for two or three days at a time. On more 
than one occasion, interviews between the land and naval 
commanders had been prevented by the same cause. Fur- 
thermore the commodore had been more than three months 
at sea, and was wearied of the service of cruising upon 
such a limited station. But the plans submitted by the 
commodore for the proposed assault, were not agreeable to 
Pepperell and his board of officers, and a correspondence 
was maintained upon the subject for several days, — War- 
ren occasionally showing a degree of earnestness, bordering 1745. 
perhaps, upon asperity. Yet he protested that his only 
desire was for the success of the expedition, and the honor 
and interests of the crown ; and he distinctly disclaimed 
the disposition to give the least offence. 1 

At length, however, the batteries of Pepperell continu- 
ing to make considerable progress against the walls of the 
town, on the first of June it was determined between the 
two commanders that a combined assault should be made 
as soon as the necessary arrangements could be completed. 
For this purpose a large body of the land forces were to 
be embarked on board the fleet, which was to force the 
harbor and land them in front of the town, covered by the 
guns of the ships. A bombardment of the town was to 
ensue, while Pepperell was to make a simultaneous attack 
through the breaches at the west gate. Before this could 

1 Correspondence between Warren and Pepperell. 



144 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, be done, however, there was a formidable obstacle to be 

IIL r- 

v— v— ' surmounted — the " island battery," heretofore mentioned, 
1745 - and upon which several ill-starred attacks had already been 
made. It was deemed too hazardous an undertaking thus 
to enter the harbor before that battery should be silenced; 
it being generally doubted whether, having entered the 
harbor, in the event of a repulse from the town, the fleet 
would be able to get to sea again. Such was the opinion 
of the officers of "Warren, at a council holden on the 
seventh of June ; and plans were then considered for 
another attack upon the island, to be made by the ships, — 
former experience having proven that boats were entirely 
inadequate to such a severe and perilous service. An at- 
tempt of this kind the commodore was yet better enabled 
to make after the tenth of June, on which day his squad- 
ron was farther strengthened by the arrival of the Princess 
Mary, the Hector, and the Lark. 1 

Happily, however, a further effusion of blood was ren- 
dered unnecessary by a successful ruse de guerre, sug- 
gested by Warren, and executed jointly by Pepperell and 
himself. The French garrison, mutinous when the siege 
commenced, reduced in numbers during its progress, 
and to great distress by the blockade, was supposed to be . 
not in the best possible humor for continuing the defence ; 
and as advices had been received that a large fleet with 
provisions and reinforcements for the succor of the fortress, 
might shortly be expected on the coast, it was considered 
wise, to hasten matters to a decision. It was moreover 
believed that Duchambon was yet ignorant of the fate of 
the Vigilante, and also of the capture of a large rice ship 
and several other vessels laden with supplies ; and it was 
suggested by Warren that should a flag be sent into the 
town with this information, by the hand of a discreet 
officer able to act his part well, the French commander 
might be induced to capitulate from sheer discouragement 
or despondency. Another part of the scheme was to play 

1 Correspondence of Pepperell and Warren. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 145 

upon his fears. To this end it was proposed that the Mar- chap. 
quis de la Maison Forte should be taken through the sev-v-^— > 
eral ships of the squadron, that he might see how kindly 1745 - 
the French prisoners were treated by the English. The 
Marquis was next to be informed that the English had been 
advised of the fact that several of their people who had 
fallen into the hands of the French and Indians, had been 
treated with horrible barbarity ; and he was to be requested 
to ask for as good treatment of the English prisoners in 
the town, as they, (the French,) were receiving on board the 
fleet. The expedient was successful, and the captive com- 
mander of the Vigilante readily consented to address the de- 
sired letter to Duchambon, announcing the loss of his ship, 
and speaking of the other matters that had been concerted. 
In regard to the treatment experienced by himself and fel- 
low captives, since their misfortune, the captive marquis 
said they were dealt with not as enemies, but as "very good 
friends ;" and in conclusion, he cautioned the governor 
against allowing the cruelties complained of to be prac- 
ticed upon the English prisoners in his power. Captain 
Macdonald, the officer to w T hom the flag was confided, dis- 
charged his duty well ; and the threat which he bore of re- 
taliation for the cruelties complained of, unless they should 
be ended, had its effect. The bearing of the captain, was 
that of a soldier sure of victory in a few days, and appa- 
rently indifferent whether the besieged continued their 
defence or not. Pepperell in his message by the flag, 
made no demand of a surrender ; while on the other hand, 
the whole affair was conducted as though the commander 
of the besiegers, certain of a speedy conquest, scarcely 
thought it necessary again to speak of a capitulation. 
Meantime the flag-officer, Macdonald, affecting entire 
ignorance of the French language though understanding 
it well, heard all that passed between the French officers 
themselves, who, speaking without suspicion or reserve, 
unconsciously confirmed the suspicions of Pepperell and 

19 



146 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. "Warren, that the besieged were in truth ignorant of the 

1D - -TIT 

w^_/ loss of the Vigilante, until that hour. 

1745. rpk e newg Q f t ^- s j og8 san ] i ^ggp j nto ^q hearts of the 

French. They saw, moreover, that preparations were on 
foot for an assault, which, from the scattered positions of 
the beseigers, and the inequalities of the ground around 
the town, they could form no intelligent estimate of their 
numbers — such prisoners as had fallen into their hands 
having with singular uniformity reported the invading 
forces much more numerous than they actually were. 
Under all these adverse events and circumstances, and 
discouraged, moreover, by the menacing appearances 
without, Duchambon determined to surrender, and on the 
sixteenth of June articles of capitulation were signed. 
The terms of this capitulation were honorable to the van- 
quished, who were allowed to march out with drums beat- 
ing and colors flying — their arms and colors then to be 
delivered into the custody of Pepperell and "Warren, until 
the return of the prisoners to their own country, when 
they were to be returned to them. 

At four o'olock in the afternoon of the same day Colonel 
Bradstreet, with a detachment of troops took possession of 
the town and its defences, the strength and magnitude of 
which, and the resources yet remaining to the French, had 
they persisted in the defence, astonished the victors, who 
saw at once that policy had stepped in very opportunely to 
aid their own bravery in the reduction of works so formid- 
able, yet the siege had been powerfully directed, as the 
reader must have seen by the preceding details, to which 
many facts and circumstances might be added. 1 

1 On entering the town Pepperell wrote to Shieley — "Such ruins were 
never seen before, which however, is not to be wondered at, as we gave the 
town about nine thousand cannon balls and six hundred bombs before they 
surrendered, which sorely distressed them, particularly the day before they 
sent out their flag of truce, when we kept up such a constant fire on the 
town from our batteries, that the enemy could not show their heads, nor 
stir from their covered ways. Our battery near the light-house played on 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 147 

The time of the capitulation was exceedingly opportune chap. 
for the besiegers in various respects yet unmentioned. >— v — - 
Two days after it took place, information was received by 1745, 
General Peppercll that a body of two thousand five hun- 
dred Indians were hovering within a few miles of his 
camp. The capitulation of the' fortress was doubtless a 
signal for their instant dispersion among their own deep 
forests. The weather, moreover, which had been remark- 
ably favorable to the objects of the besiegers, for that 
climate, now suddenly changed, and a cold and driving 
storm of rain set in, which continued ten days, and which, 
but for the shelter afforded the enemy in the town, would 
have thinned its ranks to a frightful degree by sickness — 
the disorders usual among those not accustomed to camp 
duty, or to sleeping upon the earth, having already made 
their appearance among the soldiers. 

Reinforcements from Boston, for which Pepperell had 
been urgently writing to Governor Shirley, arrived soon 
after the capitulation, — as also did the Rhode Island levies, 
after a protracted voyage, — together with supplies of pro- 
visions. These and other stores, were augmented by fur- 
ther captures from the enemy, — several rich prizes having 
been decoyed into the harbor after the fall of the town, by 
the artifice of keeping the French flag flying upon the 
ramparts. Among these were two Indiamen, and one 
South-sea ship, estimated, in all, at six hundred thousand 
pounds. 1 A dispute arose between the land forces and the 

the island battery with our cannon and large mortars so that they were 
ready to run into the sea for shelter, as some of them actually did." 

Still in the same dispatch notwithstanding these severe operations, Pep- 
perell says : we have not lost above one hundred men by the enemy in this 
vast enterprise, including the disaster at the Island battery." This is in 
contradiction of his dispatch giving an account of that island disaster, in 
which he stated the loss by the enemy at one hundred and eighty-nine, 
exclusive of those who were drowned in attempting to land from the boats. 

1 On the eighteenth of July, a large schooner from Quebec, laden with flour 
and other provisions was brought into Louisburg by one of the colonial cruis- 
ers. On the twent y- second, the Clmrmante, a French East India ship of about 
five or six hundred tons, twenty-eight guns and ninety-nine men, surrendered 



148 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, naval, as to the distribution of the prize "money arising 

v— . v—t from these captures, the former under the circumstances 

1745. f thg case, claiming an equal proportion with the latter. 

But the booty went to the seamen, — to the strong and 

general dissatisfaction by the soldiers. 

The Mermaid, Captain Montague, was dispatched to 
England with the tidings, bearing official advices from 
both commanders, enclosing the articles of capitulation. 
These dispatches were received by the ministry on the 
twentieth of July, and gazetted, but in substance only, 
on the twenty-third. It has been justly said, that the 
news of this important victory filled America with joy, and 
Europe with astonishment. The colonists, for the first 
time, began to feel the might that slumbered in their own 
strong arms, while the parent country gave no uuequive- 
cal evidence of jealousy at the development of so much en- 
ergy and power. The letter of Pepperell, giving an ac- 
count of the operations under his own command, was not 
allowed to transpire ; but the publication of the general 
facts caused great rejoicing among the people. A court 
of evidence was immediately convened, and an address of 
congratulation for the success of his Majesty's arms was 
voted, though in rather subdued and formal terms. But 
as the news of the capitulation spread through the colo- 
nies, the feelings of the people broke forth in the most 
lively rejoicings. Boston was illuminated even to the 
most obscure bye-lane and alley ; and the night was sig- 
nalized by fire-works, bon-fires and all the external tokens 

to the Princess Mary and Canterbury, without opposition. The Charmante 
had been descried in the offing, and the ships which took her, were sent out 
from here. This was as valuable a prize as had been taken during the war. 
On the first of August, the Chester and Mermaid brought in the Heron, a 
French East Indiaman, from Bengal, — "pretty rich," — as Sir Peter wrote 
to the admiralty. On the second of August, the Sunderland and Chester 
brought in a French ship called the Notre Dame de la Deliverance, of thirty- 
two guns and about sixty men, from Lima, — having on board, in gold and 
silver, upward of three hundred thousand pounds sterling, with a cargo of 
cocoa, Peruvian wool, and Jesuit's bark. — Dispatches of Sir Peter Warren to 
the Admiralty. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 149 

of joy. A day of solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God, chap. 
was likewise set apart by the civil authorities, which was ^^_, 
observed throughout the colony. Nor was a thanksgiving 1746. 
festival ever more religiously kept in Massachusetts. 1 

But notwithstanding the studied design, so rarely man- 
ifested in England, to attribute the success of the enter- 
prise, and the glory of the achievement, mainly to War- 
ren, there was no reluctance evinced in bestowing de- 
served honors upon the provincials. Pepperell was cre- 
ated a baronet, and commissioned a colonel in his majes- 
ty's forces, with permission to raise a regiment in the 
colonies, to be placed upon the regular establishment, in 
the pay of the crown. Govenor Shirley was also appoint- 
ed to a colonelcy, and confirmed in his government of 
Massachusetts, as also was Benning Wentworth, in that of 
New Hampshire. Commodore "Warren was likewise pro- 
moted to the rank of rear admiral of the blue. 2 

1 Letters to Pepperell from the Rev. Dr. Chauncey. After tlie surrender 
of the fortress, a grand entertainment was given on shore by Gen. Pepperell, 
as well to celebrate the event, as to honor Commodore Warren and the vari- 
ous officers of the navy who had cooperated in the capture. There was a 
circumstance attending this dinner, connected with the Rev. Mr. Moody, 
Pepperell's worthy chaplain, which has been preserved as being*at once 
grave and amusing. Mr. Moody was somewhat remarkable for his prolixity 
in saying grace, before meat, and his friends were particularly anxious on 
this occasion that he should not fatigue their guests, and perhaps disquiet 
them by the length of this preliminary exercise. Yet his temper was so 
irritable that none of them ventured the hint, " be short." The chaplain, 
however, catching the spirit of the occasion, very agreeably disappointed 
those who knew him by preparing the service in the following words: 
"Good Lord, we have so much to thank thee for, that time would be infi- 
nitely too short to do it in. We must therefore leave it for the work of 
Eternity. Bless our board and fellowship on this joyful occasion, for the 
sake of Christ our Lord. Amen." 

2 Pepperell was gazetted as a baronet on the tenth of August, — less than 
a month after the news of the capitulation. Commodore Warren was ga- 
zetted as a rear-admiral of the blue on the same day. It it stated by Bel- 
knap, that Warren was also created a baronet as a reward for the same 
achievement, and the statement is repeated by Dunlop, and perhaps by other 
American writers. But the fact is not so. Warren was never a baronet. 
It is true that the knighthood of the Bath was conferred upon him ; but 



150 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Yet notwithstanding these honorable rewards to the 
Wy—/ master spirits of the expedition, there was unquestionably 
1745 - a most discreditable reluctance on the part of the parent 
government to reimburse the colonies for the heavy expen- 
ses, which, without counting the cost to themselves, they 
had so nobly and so generously incurred ; and by reason 
of which, conquest was achieved, so important, according 
to the testimony of their own historians, " as to prove an 
equivalent, at the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, for all the suc- 
cess of the French upon the continent of Europe." The 
claim was prosecuted several years before parliament could 
be brought to sanction an appropriation to cover it. The 
grant was however obtained in the year 1749, amounting 
to the sum of one hundred and eighty-three thousand six 
hundred and forty-nine pounds sterling. It was received 
at Boston the same year, and equitably divided among the 
colonies which had incurred the expenditure. 1 

this was not done until in the year 1747 ; the order being then conferred as 
a reward for his conduct under Vice Admiral Anson, in the great naval en- 
gagement with the French fleet off Cape Finisterre, which was fought May 
third, of that year. Warren commanded on that occasion the Devonshire 
of sixty-six guns, and (with the Yarmouth) was first in the engagement. In 
July of the same year, Warren was gazetted admiral of the white, as also, 
on the same day, Mr. Clinton, then governor of the colony of New York, 
Sir Peter Warren and the unfortunate admiral Byng appear to have been 
fellow officers, considered at that time of high and equal merit. On the same 
day that Warren was promoted to the rank of rear admiral of the blue, 
Byng was promoted to the same rank, and Warren and Byng were on the 
same day farther promoted to the white. Yet how widely different the end 
of their career ! Ten years afterward, poor Byng, as brave, doubtless, as 
Wax - ren, but in a single instance unfortunate, was sacrificed by ministers a 
victim to popular clamor, and to screen their own imbecility. The judicial 
murder of Byng is one of the foulest blots upon England's escutcheon ! 

1 The exact sum was £188,649 25s. 7hd. The agent who prosecuted the 
claim, encountering difficulties at every step, was William Bollan, whose 
account of the negotiation is presented in the first volume of the Mass. 
His. Coll. The money was told in specie. On its arrival in Boston it was 
immediately conveyed to the treasury -house. It consisted, according to a 
note in Holmes, of two hundred and fifteen chests (three thousand pieces of 
eight, on an average, in each chest) of milled peices of eight, and one hun- 
dred casks of coined copper. There were seventeen cart and truck loads of 
the silver, and about ten truck loads of copper. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 151 

Jealousy of the rapidly increasing strength of the colo- c "-^ p - 
nies. as I have already intimated, was beyond all doubt the.v— v — ^ 
moving cause of the unworthy attempts made in England, 1/45 - 
to appropriate all the glory of the conquest to Commo- 
dore Warren. Mr. Bollan, the agent for prosecuting the 
claims of Massachusetts, found on his arrival in London, 
that in the first address of congratulation to his majesty 
on the event which he saw, it was spoken of as "a naval 
success" — not the least mention being made of the land 
forces employed on the occasion. But although these at- 
tempts to present it in the light of "a naval acquisition," 
were not without their influence, the colonists were not 
friendless, and the claims of the provincial troops were 
ably asserted. All credit was denied to the ministry in 
regard to the achievement, by some of the most influen- 
tial journals. " Our ministers," said one of these, "have 
no more merit in it than causing the park and tower guns 
to fire." 1 Again says the same standard periodical, on 
the appointment of Charles Knowles as governor of Cape 
Breton, and commander of the fleet on that station : 
"it is hoped that General Pepperell, the gallant commander 
of those brave forces who took it, will be provided for in 
some other way." 

In the spring of 1775, — thirty years afterward, — these 
attempts to detract from the just fame of the provincials, 
were revived by the earl of Sandwich, then first lord of 
the admiralty, in a speech before the house of lords. His 
lordship professed to speak upon no less authority than 
that of Admiral Warren, who, as the minister asserted, 
had pronounced the Americans engaged in the siege of 
Louisburg, as the greatest cowards and poltroons whom he 
had ever seen. His lordship also made Warren to say, 
that the fighting at Louisburg had been done by the ma- 
rines of the ship's crews, landed by the commodore for 
that purpose ; while at the same time he was compelled to 

1 The Gentleman's Magazine — the best historical record antecedent to 
Dodsley's Annual Register, the publication of which was begun in 1758. 



152 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. prai3e the Americans for their endeavors to keep them 
^ — , from running away. It should be remembered, however 
1745 - hat this speech was delivered at the breaking out of the, 
war of the American revolution, when it was the policy 
of the parent country to decry the character of the colo- 
nies. The minister, moreover spoke at random of con- 
versations merely held with one, who had been dead more 
than thirty years. He was however, immediately and 
sharply answered through the London press, by a man who 
had been engaged intheseige, — who had known Sir Peter 
Warren, and conversed with him upon the subject. 1 This 
writer proved that Sir Peter could never have made any 
such statements to his lordship, nor to any one else — in 
the hrst place, from the perfect harmony that existed be- 
tween the land and the sea officers ; secondly, because of 
the very impossibility that the story could be true, — since 
the commodore had no power to command upon land, and 
could not have interfered with the authority of General 
Pepperell ; — and for the yet more conclusive reason, that 

THE COMMODORE NEVER LANDED A PARTY, EITHER OF MARINES 
OR SEAMEN, DURINO THE SEIGE. 

How far Admiral Warren himself participated in these 
efforts at detraction, or whether in reality he engaged 
in them at all, is now a point of difficult determination. 
It is affirmed by one highly respectable American authori- 
ty, 3 that " Warren deposed on oath, in the high court of 
admirality, seventeen months after the event, that with 
the assistance of his majesty's ships, &c, he, this deponent 
did subdue the whole island of Cape Breton." This 
declaration unexplained, presents indeed a most arrogant 
claim ; but it ill accords with the declarations of the com- 

1 Letter to the earl of Sandwich by "an old English merchant." — Mass. 
Hist. Coll., Vol. I. 

2 Walsh's Appeal from the Judgments of Great Britain, respecting the Unit- 
ed States of America, in which the author cites the Registry of the High 
Court of Admiralty of England, Sept. twenty-ninth, 1747. I have not seen 
this authority to judge of the extent of the circumstances under which the 
deposition was made. 






LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 153 

modore's letters written during the seige. In one of these chap. 
addresses to Governor Clinton in New York, and dated off v_v— » 
Louisburg, May twelve, 1745, the commodore says : 1745, 

" Sir, I take the liberty to acquaint you that the New 
England troops have taken possession of one of the ene- 
my's most considerable batteries at Louisburg, which gives 
them the command of the harbor ; and they have now 
carried their approaches so near by land, that the city is 
blockaded, and its communication by land and sea entirely 
cut off, and that before the arrival of any ship to their relief 
from any part of the world, except one smaU one laden with wine 
and brandy." ' 

Indignation at British arrogance upon the subject of this 
expedition, however, and a pretty general conviction that 
Warren was less magnanimous than he should have been, 
have on the other hand conspired to induce certain Ameri- 
can historians to derogate from the substantial merits of 
this distinguished naval commander, in regard to that great 
achievement, whose conduct, within his own proper sphere 
of action, and beyond which he evinced no desire to go, 
was without fear, and without reproach. Owing to the fogs, 
the ice, and the storms, the difficulties of maintaining a 
rigid blockade were exceedingly difficult and hazardous. 
Yet never was a blockade more effectively maintained, and 
never did a naval commander evince a stronger desire to 
encounter yet greater hazards for the honor of the service, 
and of his royal master. It is indeed possible, that feel- 
ings of jealousy may have been growing like hidden fires 
in the bosoms of both commanders, even in the hour of 
triumph. And if such were the fact, there were doubtless, 
ill-disposed people at hand to fan the sparks into a flame. 
Yet there is nothing in the conduct or correspondence of 
the two commanders, during the seige, going to warrant 
any such conclusion. On the contrary, there was at all 
times, a generous cooperation between them. Once, in- 

1 This letter is preserved in the journals of the general assembly of Neiy 
fork. 

20 



154 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, deed, — but not until the day after the capitulation, — there 
« — , — .was an imputation of jealousy thrown out ; hut it is no 
1745. more than justice to admit that it came from "Warren him- 
self, who thought he had reason for the impeachment 
against Pepperell. "I am sorry," said he, "to find by your 
letter a kind of jealousy which I thought you would never 
conceive of me." The residue of this letter is earnest, 
but relates to some unspecified complaint of Duchambon, 
who seemed to apprehend a disposition on the part of Pep- 
perell not to observe with sufficient exactness, the terms 
of the capitulation. But the real or affected cause of the 
French governor's complaint is not given, nor does the letter 
seem to have been preserved in which Warren thought he 
discovered the shadow of the green-eyed monster. 

There were, however, sharp jealousies entertained in an- 
other quarter. The people of Boston were alive to the honor 
of their merchant-general ; and having heard that the 
keys of Louisburg had been delivered, not to him, but to 
the commodore, were not a little incensed thereat. 1 Still 
greater was their displeasure on hearing that Warren had 
assumed the government of the conquered province — it 
being feared " that New England, from a sea-officer, would 
not have its full share of the glory of the conquest." 2 
Hence it was requested by the legislature of Massachusetts 
that Governor Shirley should repair in person to Louisburg, 
which port it had been determined to repair and retain, t» 
look after the interests and the glory of those who had ef- 
fected the conquest. Yet the highest praise was at the 
same time, and on all hands awarded to Warren. Dr. 
Chauncey himself, in the letter to his friend Pepperell, im- 
mediately prior to the one just cited, says: — "I have no 
personal acquaintance with the brave Mr. Warren, but I 

J If I understand Hutchinson correctly, this statement was inaccurate 
"It was made a question, " says their candid historian, " whether the keys 
of the town should be delivered to the commodore or to the general, and 
whether the sea or land forces should first enter. The officers of the army 
they say prevailed. " 

2 Letter from the Rev. Doctor Chauncey to Sir William Pepperell. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 155 

sincerely love and honor him. Had his majesty given us chap. 
the choice of a sea-commander on this occasion, we should «- v — / 
have selected that gentleman from all the rest, and desired 1745 - 
that he might he sent." But other jealousies also existed, 
as in the case of Colonel Bradstreet, and even of Shirley 
himself, against whom Pepperell was admonished before 
he sailed upon the expedition, " as a snake in the grass." 
These things only prove that human frailty exists among 
the best of men in every age. A careful study of the his- 
tory of this memorable expedition will show any candid 
enquirer for the truth that Warren behaved throughout like 
a brave and skillful officer, and a patriotic and honorable 
man. Admitting, nevertheless, for the sake of argument, 
that in the course of events immediately after the first flush 
of victory had passed away, unpleasant feelings had arisen 
between the two distinguished commanders, they must have 
been very short-lived, since the two heroes afterward lived 
in bonds of friendship that were dissolved only by death. 
Sir Peter Warren passed the summer at Louisburg, during 
which time many valuable captures were made by his 
ships, 1 and Sir William Pepperell remained there a whole 
year after the conquest. He afterward visited England at 
the express invitation of Warren, by whom he was received 
with honor, and treated with marked distinction. He was 
received with great kindness by the royal family, and the 
city of London presented him with a silver table. In re- 
gard to the joint conquest, there certainly was little room 
for jealousy, for there was glory enough for all. 

It was believed, that the capture of Louisburg, prevented 
the conquest of Nova Scotia by the French. Duvivier, 
who had embarked for France in 1744 to solicit an arma- 
ment for the invasion of that province, sailed with seven 
ships of war and a large body of troops, in July, 1745. 

X A Ms. letter from John Oatherwood, then an officer in the household of 
Governor Clinton, to "Mr. William Johnson, dated Sept. 5th, 1845, says: 
* ' This commodore has had great success in captures at Louisburg. His share, 
at least, will be above £20,000. 



156 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. His orders were to touch at Louisburg, and proceed thence 
«— y— ' in the execution of his plan. Hearing at sea of the fall of 
1745, that place, and of the strength of the British squadron sta- 
tioned there, he relinquished the enterprise against Nova 
Scotia, and returned to Europe. 

The daring and enthusiastic Vaughan, however, appears 
to have been forgotten in the hour of triumph. He re- 
paired to London shortly afterward, to prefer his claims to 
the crown, but was seized with the small-pox in that capi- 
tal, of which disease he died. 



CHAPTER IV. 
1745—1746. 

Recurring again to the progress of affairs in New York: chap. 
Mr. Clinton, the governor, it will be remembered, had dis- vj^— > 
solved the second assembly of his administration, on the 1745- 
fourteenth of May, in high displeasure, because, as he 
alleged in part, of the personal disrespect with which he had 
been treated by that body ; but chiefly because of its inatten- 
tion to the defenses of the colony, and its neglect of his 
recommendations of a cooperation with the New England 
colonies in the expedition against Cape Breton. Orders for 
such cooperation having been received from his majesty's 
ministers, the governor held that obedience was an impera- 
tive duty. But the people seem not to have sympathized 
with the feelings of the governor ; and the uncomply- 
ing members, with few exceptions, and with singular 
unanimity, were returned to the new assembly, which met 
on the twenty-fifth of June, and elected Mr. David Jones, 
of Queens county, a gentleman distinguished for his rigid 
views of economy in public affairs, as their speaker. The 
news of the fall of Louisburg had not reached New York 
at the time of the meeting. Much of the governor's speech, 
therefore, after pressing again upon the attention of the as- 
sembly the importance of placing the colony in such a pos- 
ture of defence, as the crisis demanded, was devoted to the 
Louisburg expedition. The governor had indeed him- 
self only heard of the earlier operations of the siege ; the 
capture of the first great battery upon land, and of the 
Vigilante by sea, and the latest dispatches thence con- 
sisted of urgent appeals from Governor Shirley and Com- 
modore "Warren, for troops, seamen, and provisions. These 
solicitations were in turn urged upon the assembly with all 



1745. 



158 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, the force at the command of the executive mind. But 
although few changes had taken place in the representative 
body of the general assembly, yet the dissolution had 
wrought a wonderful improvement in its temper. The 
answer of the council, drawn by Chief Justice DeLancey, 
was an echo to the speech, and that of the house, report- 
ed by Mr. Henry Cruger, was equally cordial. The mem- 
bers declared their full persuasion that the governor had 
the service of the crown and the welfare of the colony sin- 
cerely at heart, and they were equally explicit in avowing 
their own readiness to consider with the greatest attention, 
the several particulars recommended for their action. Nor 
was their conduct inconsistent with their professions. A 
bill was passed with the utmost promptitude, appropriating 
five thousand pounds toward the Louisburg expedition ; 
another for the necessary fortifications both upon the wild 
inland frontier and the defence of the seaboard ; and yet 
another for completing the governor's house. These acts 
having been passed with great harmony, the assembly ad- 
journed from the sixth of July to the thirteenth of August, — 
during which interval of time the glorious news of the fall 
of Louisburg was received, — an achievement the most im- 
portant by far of the war, and ff which proved an equiva- 
lent at the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, for all the successes 
of the French upon the continent of Europe." 

The Indian relations of the colony were yet again becom- 
ing critical. Notwithstanding the efforts of the preceeding 
year, both at Albany and in the grand council at Lancas- 
ter, to keep this jealous and fickle people true to their 
covenants with the English ; and notwithstanding their 
repeated pledges of fidelity, the Six Nations were again 
wavering ; and the misgivings of the govenor as to their 
designs, were communicated by a message to the house, 
on the twentieth of August, in which an appropriation was 
asked to enable his excellency to meet them in council, 
and if possible, ascertain the grounds of their discontents. 




(I I, .^ U V (' U r (' i; u | ; s ()- 



London FuhUsh'd tfanhn* ij$3,by UWilkiiwon .l n ',>,? (bmhili. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 159 

The governor also announced that some of the Canadian chap. 



5 



IV. 



Indians had broken the treaty of neutrality existing be- 
tween them and the Six Nations, by committing hostilities 1745 - 
against some of the frontier settlements of New England, 
where several of the inhabitants had been barbarously 
murdered. In the apprehension that those Indians might 
be meditating an infliction of the like cruelties upon the 
frontiers of New York, it was necessary that due measures 
of precaution should be adopted. 

There had been indications of dissatisfaction among the 
Six Nations for several months prior to this message. In- 
deed the governor had referred to their " disquietudes " and 
"commotions" in his speech dissolving the assembly in 
May ; and it was well ascertained that during the preced- 
ing winter, emissaries from the French had been among 
them, while they in turn had sent several messengers with 
belts into Canada. Information to this effect was elicited 
on the examination of John Henry Lydius, of Albany, 
before the executive council in New York, on the sixth of 
April. Lydius was a man of extensive acquaintance with 
the Indians, having resided much among them, — in Canada 
several years, — and again at Lake George. He stated that 
he had recently seen a French Indian, from whom he had 
received information touching the designs of the enemy 
against Oswego, and also in regard to the feelings of the 
Six Nations. The Mohawks were very uneasy, and had 
sent several chiefs to confer with the Indians in Canada. 
The cause of this uneasiness was a suspicion awakened in 
their bosoms by evil disposed persons, that the English 
were preparing at no distant day entirely to destroy them. 
This apprehension, notwithstanding its absurdity, was 
seriously entertained by many of the people, and even by 
some of the chiefs ; though the orators Abraham, and 
Brant, gave no credence to the tale. 1 

1 Manuscript journals of the executive council, secretary of state's office, 
Albany. The Brant here spoken of, was probably the father or the reputed 
father of Joseph Brant of the revolution. 



160 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. It was unfortunately but too true, at the time under con- 
v_ v ~< sideration, that no good feelings existed between the Mo- 
1745 - hawks and the people of Albany. At least the Mohawks 
looked upon the latter with great bitterness, — having been 
overreached in some land purchases, in which the Al- 
banians were concerned. So they alleged ; and by availing 
themselves of these prejudices, some evil-minded persons 
had to some extent persuaded the Mohawks that the Al- 
banians were plotting the destruction of their nation, in or- 
der to possess themselves of their domain. Rumors were 
accordingly circulated among them from time to time to the 
end that measures for killing them were in actual prepara- 
tion. They were thus kept in a state of feverish excitement 
and suspicion for several weeks. At length a runner arrived 
in the Mohawk country, in the night, with information that 
the Albanians were then actually upon the march against 
them, to the number of several hundreds, armed with mus- 
kets, and treading to the sound of arms and trumpets. 
The poor Indians of the lower castle, Dyiondarogon, fled 
in wild affright to their upper towns. All was confusion, — 
the women seizing their infants, and the children who were 
able to run, flying in the utmost consternation, and utter- 
ing the dead cry — "que !" que !" que I" 1 

The dissatisfaction having become extensive among the 
confederates, it was judged expedient to depute Conrad 
"Weiser, the Pennsylvania interpreter for the Six Nations, 
to make a tour of friendly observation among them. 
"Weiser was a native of Schoharie, partaking largely of the 
confidence of the Indians; and it was rightly judged that 
a mission by him to their several towns and castles would 
be attended with happy results. Those results were 
realized. On the twenty-ninth of July the missionary re- 
turned, and his journal was laid by Mr. Clinton before his 
council. After traversing the cantons beyond Onondaga, 
and soothing their feelings, he was accompanied from the 

1 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 161 

Great council fire by a party of the chiefs to Oswego, where chap. 
free conferences were held. The Indians complained that w^ — > 
the English kept them in the dark about the progress of the 1745 - 
war, dealing out their news in generals only, whereas they 
wanted the particulars. They were aware that the gov- 
ernor of New York was displeased with their visits to Cana- 
da, but they insisted that they went thither only upon 
business, — the governor of Canada knowing very well that 
he could do nothing with them to the detriment of the 
English. 

Returning from Oswego through the Mohawk country, 
Weiser was received gladly at their castles and treated kind- 
ly. The Indians there said they inclined to the English, 
having always been used well by the governors of New 
York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. But the people 
of Albany had not treated them well. They had cheated 
them, and were yet trying to get their lands and destroy 
them. They likewise accused the Albanians of being en- 
gaged in unlawful commerce with the enemy, to whom 
they had sold large quantities of powder. In regard to the 
visits of the Mohawk chiefs to the French in the winter, 
they admitted that they had gone thither because they were 
displeased with the Albanians, and in order to let them 
know that they would act as they pleased. 

At Dyiondarogon, the Indians convened a council to 
hear Mr. Weiser on the subject of their late alarm in con- 
sequence of the rumored invasion from Albany. He as- 
sured them that the whole story which had caused their 
panic was false, and told them of the great surprise of the 
governor on hearing of such an occurrence, at a time, too, 
when he thought the parties were all so friendly to each 
other. The Indians, in reply, admitted that their alarm 
had been very great ; but, they said, the matter had all been 
settled, " and thrown into the bottomless pit." The ex- 
planations made to them had been perfectly satisfactory ; 
and they now requested even that no inquiries might be 
21 



162 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, instituted as to the authors of the alarm. 1 But it will 

IV. 

v.^./ presently appear that they did not exactly hold to this reso- 

i" 45 - lution themselves. 

At the same meeting of the council, letters were received 
from the commissioners of Indian affairs at Albany, an- 
nouncing the approach of scalping parties of the Canadian 
Indians toward the frontier settlements at the north. They 
also stated that two men had been murdered on the border 
of New England, — the Indians having plucked out their 
eyes, torn off their scalps, and cut out their hearts. This 
last statement was confirmed hj a letter from Governor 
Shirley, who spoke of it as a violation of the treaty of neu- 
trality between the Canadian Indians and the Six Nations, 
and urging as a proper measure that the latter should now 
forthwith take up the hatchet. Upon these representations, 
the council advised that an interpreter be immediately dis- 
patched to the Six Nations, with a request that they should 
ascertain to what tribe or nation the offending Indians be- 
longed ; and also whether the murders were approved by 
their tribe. If so, then the Six Nations were requested to 
consider what was to be their own line of duty. If not, — 
if the murders were disapproved, — then it was left to the 
Six Nations to say whether they ought not to demand the 
surrender of the murderers, — the outrage having been al- 
together unprovoked. 2 

The cruelties just set forth, were committed upon the 
frontier of New Hampshire ; but others equally atrocious 
were committed shortly afterward in the border settle- 
ments even of Connecticut, of which information was 
given to Mr. Clinton by Governor Low of that colony. 
Nor were these all. It was discovered in August, that 
while the Canadian Indians had thus been let loose upon 
the New England frontiers, — crossing even the province of 
Massachusetts in order to strike Connecticut, — the French 

1 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 

2 Manuscript proceedings of the executive council. 




1 I ■.,... lelj 



W&MB HOmOC'lCDX 



/ 



rf &&'***% 





«• 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART* 163 

had become yet more earnest in their solicitations for the chap. 

•> IV. 

Iroquois to join them against the English. Certain of the^.—/ 
Mohawk and Tuscarora chiefs, moreover, had made still 1745, 
another visit to the governor of Canada, in connection, 
as there was but too much reason, to believe, with these 
solicitations. At all events, the return of those chiefs was 
preceded by a state of feeling among the people, that 
deterred the Indian commissioners at Albany from send- 
ing a messenger among them, with the overture from 
the governor and council as directed on the twenty- 
ninth of July. Meantime a letter was received from Mr. 
Phipps, acting governor of Massachusetts during the ab- 
sence of Governor Shirley at Louisburg, announcing that 
by the advice of his majesty's council of that province, 
war had been formally proclaimed against the Eastern 
and Canadian Indians. 1 The alarm had therefore become 
very general before the special attention of the assembly 
was called to the subject by the message from the governor 
of the twentieth of August. That body saw the necessi- 
ty of immediate and efficient action, and an appropriation 
of six hundred pounds, in addition to an unexpended 
balance of four hundred pounds yet in the hands of 
the executive, was made to defray the expenses of a 
treaty with the Indians at Albany. The assembly there- 
upon adjourned over by permission, from the twenty- 
ninth of August to the fifteenth of October ; and the 
necessary measures were concerted for holding a general 
council with the Indians without unnecessary delay. 

The negotiations were opened on the fifth day of Octo- 
ber, Governor Clinton being attended by Messrs. Philip 
Livingston, Daniel Horsmanden, Joseph Murray and John 
liutherford, members of the executive council. Delegates 
were also in attendance from the provinces of Massachu- 
setts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. 2 About four hun- 

1 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 

2 Tbe commissioners from Massachusetts, were, Colonel John Stoddard, 
Jacob Wendell, Thomas Berry, John Choate and Thomas Hutchinson. From 



164 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, dred and sixty Indians were present, representing all the 
■ — y — * confederates excepting the Scnecas, who had been detained 
by a distressing malady, which was sweeping off many of 
their members. The first interview between the parties 
was brief, — the Indians retiring immediately after they had 
been presented to the governor and drunk the king's 
health. A consultation was then held among the com- 
missioners as to the arrangement of their subsequent pro- 
ceedings, at which it was determined that in order to im- 
press the Indians with an idea of the harmonious action 
and consequent strength of the English, Governor Clinton 
should speak the united voice of the whole, — that is, of 
New York and New England. The Pennsylvania com- 
missioners, being members of the Friends' society, pre- 
ferred to make an address by themselves, in their own pe- 
culiar way. It was likewise determined that Mr. Clinton 
should present the chiefs with the hatchet to strike the 
French, and the Indians in their alliance, for the infraction 
of their treaty of neutrality with the Six Nations, uncon- 
ditionally, — leaving it with the Indians themselves to sug- 
gest, should they elect to do so, some other measure for 
obtaining satisfaction for the barbarities that had been com- 
mitted. 1 

Before proceeding to the main business for which the 
council had been convened, however, the governor having 
heard that notwithstanding their message by Conrad 
Weiser, the Indians had never been altogether satisfied in 
regard to the affair of the panic, heretofore described, 
determined upon having a full explanation of that myste- 
rious affair ; — and two days or more were occupied upon 
that subject. Hendrik, chief sachem of the Mohawks, 
made a long speech. He said their distrust of the designs 
of the English, but especially of the people of Albany, had 

Connecticut, Rogei' Wolcott, lieutenant-governor, and Colonel Stanley. 
From Pennsylvania, Messrs. Thomas Lawrence, John Kinsley, and Isaac 
Norris. 
1 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BAltT. 



165 



been originally awakened by Jean Cceur, a French inter- chap. 
preter, residing principally among the Senecas. This man - — ,— ' 
had long been regarded by the English as a dangerous ***■ 
neighbor, and they had endeavored to persuade the Sene- 
cas to send him away, — but in vain. Hendrik now in- 
formed Mr. Clinton that Cceur, on returning from a visit 
to Canada, had told the Indians that the governor of New 
York had been proposing to the governor of Canada to 
unite for the entire destruction of their people. The tale 
sank deep into their minds. They knew that the Albany 
people had treated them badly, and when they came to re- 
flect upon the project, and thought of the condition to 
which the River Indians had been reduced, and of the fact 
that the people of Connecticut and Massachusetts had taken 
all their land away, they began to ponder whether such 
might not be the design of the English against themselves 
— the Six Nations. "You," said Hendrik, pointing to 
Colonel Stoddard, "have got our land, and driven us away 
from Westfield, where my father lived formerly." 1 When 
they thought of these things, he repeated, we feared that 
" the Mohawks would be brought to the same pass," and 
rendered " as poor " as the River Indians were. " This," 
he said, " had remained in their hearts some years, and 
now, as the governor would have them open their minds, 
they had done it, and they hoped it would have a good 
effect." 2 

A long discussion followed the harangue of Hendrik, 
in regard to the authors of the claim, and several persons 
were to a greater or less extent implicated. Next to Jean 
Cceur, a man named Philip Van Patten, was charged as 
the chief agent in getting up the mischievous alarm, and a 

1 This remark will be the better understood on the statement of the fact 
that the family of Hendrik was Mohegan, and only Mohawk by adoption. 
Yet Hendrik and his brothers were chiefs of the first influence — Hendrik 
himself being the principal chief of the tribe, and was known as King 
Hendrik. 

2 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 



166 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART, 

chap, negro wench of Schenectady was likewise compromised. 

v-^w But the statements of the Indians were contradictory ; 

1745. y an Patten purged himself on oath, and the Indians were 
evidently opposed to any very rigid investigation being 
made. 1 Indeed before the close of this branch of the pro- 
ceedings, it came to be justly doubted whether the whole 
affair had not been a contrivance of a few of the Indians 
to excite sympathy, and perhaps extort from the govern- 
ment an increased amount of presents,— a lame and impo- 
tent conclusion of the touching and dramatic scene brought 
to the contemplation of Conrad Weiser. 

The council was opened for the transaction of the proper 
business upon which it had been summoned, on the tenth 
of October. After the usual preliminary salutations, in 
which the Indians were told as a matter of course, that the 
council had been invited for the purpose of "rendering, 
strengthening, and brightening the covenant chain," and 
after condoling with them for the absence of the Senecas, 
because of the grievous sickness their people were suffer- 
ing, the governor spoke to them directly, and in a tone 01 
disapprobation of the late visit of some of their chiefs to 
Montreal, where they had met the French governor. It 
had been asserted in justification of that visit, that they 
had gone thither to protest against any invasion of Oswe- 
go by the French — the Six Nations desiring that that post 
might be suffered to remain as " a place of trade and peace," 
and pretending that they were determined to defend it if 
attacked. But at the very time when their chiefs were in 
Montreal, the Canada Indians had been breaking their 
treaty, and murdering the English. Not only so, but the 
governor assured them he had been informed that while 
pretending that their mission was thus pacific, they had so 
far accepted the hatchet from the French, as to agree to 
bring it home, and consider whether they would strike 
their English friends with it or not. This story, however, 



1 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 167 

the English could hardly believe to be true, unless they chap. 
should hear it from their own lips. A full and plain answer > — ^_- 
was expected, " that all stains might be wiped from the 1745- 
covenant chain." 

Mr. Clinton next proceeded to relate to the chiefs the 
progress of the war — informing them of the action of the 
French the preceding year upon Annapolis Royal, and 
giving them an account of the fall of Louisburg, and the 
conquest of Cape Breton. In this part of the country, the 
English had lain still ; but they had last year informed the 
governor of Canada, that unless the war should be conduct- 
ed in a Christian-like manner, — unless the Canada Indians 
were restrained from murdering the English, — the Six Na- 
tions would immediately join the latter and strike upon 
the settlements of Canada. Yet the French seemed deter- 
mined not to be at peace with us, and their Indians had not 
only killed some of the English, but had left a hatchet by 
the side of one of the dead, — thus defying the English and 
the Six Nations to take it up. The most solemn and sacred 
engagements were broken by them, and they had shown 
that even belts of wampum would not bind them to their 
promises. The English had been slighted, and the Six 
Nations treated as though they were not worthy to be re- 
garded. They think you will not perform what you have 
threatened, and they fear not your displeasure. Thus they 
reflect dishonor upon you. 

The chiefs were next told that it was high time both the 
English and the Six Nations should exert themselves to 
vindicate their honor. The English desired not the de- 
struction of their fellow creatures, yet they felt that they 
ought not any longer to bear these insults and this evil 
treatment from the French. " Therefore, since neither our 
peaceable disposition nor examples, nor any methods we 
have been able to use, have sufficed to prevail upon them 
to forbear their barbarous treatment of us, but on the con- 
trary, they seem determined to provoke our resentment, — 



168 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, in the name of God we are resolved not only to defend our- 

iv. J m 

"— v — ; selves, but by all possible methods to put it out of their 
' > power to misuse and evil-entreat us as tbey have heretofore 
done. And we doubt not of your ready and cheerful con- 
currence with us, agreeable to the solemn promise you 
made us in this place last summer, in joining with us 
against the French, and such Indians as are or may be in- 
stigated by them to commit hostilities against us." This 
passage of the governor's speech w T as followed by the pre- 
sentation of a large belt of wampum, with a hatchet hung 
to it. 1 

Having taken two days for consideration, the Indians re- 
plied, renewing the covenant chain, which they said they 
were determined should never rust again, " because they 
would daily wipe off the dust, and keep it clean." In re- 
gard to the visit of their chiefs to Montreal, they denied 
peremptorily, the truth of the report of their having consent- 
ed to receive the hatchet from the French governor, even 
for the purpose of consideration. Upon this and some 
other points of less importance, the chiefs answered with- 
out embarrasment. But on the subject of consenting to 
go upon the war-path against the French, they spoke wari- 
ly. They thanked the governor for the information he 
had given of the progress of the war ; but touching the 
direct appeal to them to engage in the contest, they cau- 
tiously said : — "you desire, as we are of one flesh with you, 
that we would also take up the hatchet against the French, 
and the Indians under their influence, with you. We the 
Six Nations, accept of the hatchet, — and will put it in our 
bosoms ! We are in alliance with a great many of the far 
Indians, and if we should so suddenly lift up the hatchet 
without acquainting our allies with it, they would perhaps 
take oifence at it. We will therefore before we make use 
of the hatchet against the French or their Indians, send 
four of our people, who are now ready to go, to Canada, 
to demand satisfaction for the wrongs they have done our 

1 Manuscript journals of executive council. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 169 

brethren, and if they refuse to make satisfaction, then we chap. 
will he ready to use the hatchet against them, whenever ^—v— ' 
our brother the governor of New York orders us to do it." ' ' 
Two months, they said, in reply to a question from the 
governor, would be time enough for them to ascertain 
whether the aggressors would make the requisite satis- 
faction ; and in the event of their not doing so, they re- 
peated their declaration to use the hatchet at the command 
of his excellency. 1 

In subsequent sections of their speeeh, the Indians took 
occasion to remind the governor that the original design 
of their alliance with the English was the advantages they 
hoped to derive from a reciprocal trade ; but goods had 
been sold very high to them of late. They were now desti- 
tute of clothes, powder, and lead ; " and people who are to 
go to war ought to be well provided with ammunition. 
This, however, should their request be now denied, was 
the last time they should speak upon the subject." In 
his rejoinder, the governor explained to them the causes 
of the high prices of goods at that time. They were 
occasioned by the war ; but he would see that goods 
should be sold to them at as reasonable rates as possible. 
The presents to be distributed among them were then an- 
nounced, — the governor enjoining it upon the chiefs to 
reserve for the absent Senecas their due proportion. 2 The 
discussions were concluded by a few words of wholesome 
advice addressed to the red chieftains now about return- 
ing again to their own beloved wilds. 

Thus far the proceedings of the conference had been 
marked by apparant harmony. But Mr. Clinton had no 
sooner ended his closing address, than the Massachusetts 

1 Here the Indians requested his excellency, that, as they had given the 
war-shout upon his delivering the hatchet to them, that their brethren would 
now signify their approbation of this article (or avowa,l) in their usual 
method. Whereupon his excellency and most of the company joined in 
shouts with three hurrahs. " — Ms. records of the council recorded in the ex~ 
ecutive journals. 

2 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 

9.9. 



170 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, commissioners rose to express their disapprobation of that 
s—y— /part of the speech of the sachems in which they had 
1745 - declared that for the present instead of using the hatchet 
they should " put it in their bosoms." The commissioners 
stated that when the Indians first arrived in Albany, they 
came with a good heart to enter into the war at once ; and 
they attributed their change of purpose and desire of de- 
lay, to the intrigues of the people of Albany. The Albani- 
ans, the commissioners said they well knew, were opposed 
to having the Six Nations engaged in the contest, and 
they doubted not that the hesitancy which the chiefs had 
manifested, was altogether owing to their influence. On 
the subject of the proposed mission to obtain satisfaction 
from the red men in Canada, the Massachusetts gentlemen 
regarded the proposition as a mere pretext for delay. If 
satisfaction were given at all, as pretended to be given, it 
would probably consist of a small bundle of skins, of no 
substantial value, and would be no atonement at all. 
They were therefore greatly dissappointed with the turn 
the negotiation had taken. 1 

It would not be safe to affirm that this suspicion of the 
Massachusetts gentlemen was indulged without cause. 
The Albanians, at that time, regardless of the higher ob- 
ligations of patriotism, were engaged in a lucrative con- 
traband trade with Montreal, through the agency, proba- 
bly, of the Caughnawagas, as in former years. Of this 
trade the Six Nations themselves had complained, because 
of the supplies of ammunition thus furnished to the 
French ; and the governor, in his last preceding message 
to the assembly, had recommended strong measures for its 
suppression. Nevertheless, from a motive of policy, — for it 
could have been prompted by nothing else, — Mr. Clinton 
affected surprise at the suggestions of the Massachusetts 
gentlemen, inasmuch, he urged, as it had been the de- 
clared opinion of Governor Shirley himself, that it would 

1 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 171 

be in every view sufficient were the entire neutrality of the chap. 
Indians to be preserved. That neutrality it was the strong *-v_> 
desire of the Six Nations to maintain unbroken; and it ' 
was to this end, as Mr. Clinton now insisted to the Massa- 
chusetts gentlemen, that some of their chiefs were in Ca- 
nada at the very time when the directions for holding the 
present council were issued. And yet before it was pos- 
sible for them to ascertain the disposition of the Canada 
Indians, or to reap the fruits of their pacific endeavors, 
greatly to his surprise, Massachusetts had actually declared 
war against the Indians living under the jurisdiction of 
the French. It was moreover urged as an additional rea- 
son why the Six Nations sought the delay, that many of 
their own people were in Canada and their safety would 
be compromised should their friends at home take up the 
hatchet at once. 1 Thus closed the council ; but the vail 
which Mr. Clinton had attempted thus adroitly to throw 
over the subject-matter of the complaints of the Massa- 
chusetts gentlemen, was quite too transparent to be satis- 
factory. 

A new aspect was imparted to the case in the course of 
the ensuing night, by the arrival of an express from Mas- 
sachusetts with intelligence that a body of French and In- 
dians had fallen upon one of the block-houses on the New 
England frontier, — situated at Great meadow, on the 
Connecticut river. On the next morning, therefore, the 
Massachusetts gentlemen applied to Governor Clinton upon 
the subject, urging that by this attack of the French and 
their Indians upon one of the king's forts, the case had 
substantially arisen, in which he might, under the express 
agreement of the Six Nations two days before, order them 
forthwith upon the war-path, and that they would be bound 
to go. They had said, that if before the expiration of the 
two months delay for which they asked, further acts ot 
hostility should be committed by the enemy, at the orders 

1 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 



172 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART." 

chap, of the governor they would " strike with the hatchet." 1 
< — ^ The exigency had already occurred, and the commissioners 
7 now requested that the order might be given, — stipulating* 
at the same time, that they would supply the Indians with 
the necessary munitions of war for the campaign, at their 
own expense, provided they could be led forth against the 
enemy at once. But this request, after full advisement in 
council, was not acceded to by Mr. Clinton. The Indians 
were not inclined to immediate war ; nor had the case pro- 
vided for actually arisen, inasmuch as the attack upon the 
block-house must have been made before the Six Nations 
had entered into the engagement referred to. Those na- 
tions, moreover, were the only existing barrier between the 
frontiers of New York and the enemy ; and the withdrawal 
of that barrier, while the frontier of New York was thus 
naked and exposed, would be subjecting the settlements to 
infinite peril. The governor, therefore, could not consent 
to the proposition, until he had consulted the assembly, 
and given that body time to place the frontier of New York 
in a posture of defence. While, however, for these and 
other reasons that were stated, Mr. Clinton declined allow- 
ing the commissioners the immediate aid of the Six Na- 
tions, he nevertheless offered a detachment of militia for 
their assistance at the expense of this province. 2 This 
proffer was declined, and the Commissioners departed — 
not, it is to be presumed, in the best possible humor. 

Returning to the city of New York, where the general 
assembly, after a short recess, had resumed its sittings, the 
governor, on the second of November, communicated the 
results of his mission to Albany, by a special message, in 
which he took occasion to speak of the aggressions of the 
French and their Indian allies upon the border settlements 

1 So the Massachusetts commissioners insisted, but the fact does not ap- 
pear exactly thus in the formal speech preserved in the records of the 
council. 

2 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOIINSON, BART. 173 

of New England, and urged the importance of making im- chap. 
mediate and adequate provision for the defence of the^— v— * 
northern frontier of New York. It was not known how 1 ' 45, 
strong was the combined French and Indian force that had 
attacked the fort at Great meadow, nor how soon it might 
fall upon some of the exposed settlements of this province. 
Such an attack was certainly to be apprehended ; and the 
governor pressed home with earnestness upon the assem- 
bly the absolute necessity of erecting fortifications at the 
exposed points, not only for the security of the out-settle- 
ments, but for the purpose of giving encouragement and 
confidence to the Indians, that they might be induced, with 
the greater cheerfulness, to join in the war. For the Mo- 
hawks, always brave themselves, " felt a very allowable re- 
pugnance to expose the lives of their warriors in defence 
of those who made no effort to defend themselves ; who 
were neither protected by the arms of their sovereign, nor 
by their own courage." 1 

These admonitions received not that immediate attention 
which the exigency of the case demanded ; and but two 
short weeks intervened before the war-whoop, and the 
reddened sky at the north, startled the assembly from its 
inaction, and taught it that earlier and more earnest heed 
ought to have been given to his excellency's repeated re- 
commendations. Fort St. Frederick, at Crown Point, was 
at that period garrisoned with sufficient strength to enable 
its commander, Mr. Vaudreuil, to send out strong detach- 
ments to annoy the English settlements at his pleasure. 
One of these had fallen, as already stated, upon the Great 
meadow settlement in Massachusetts ; and at break of day, on 
the morning of November seventeenth, a combined force of 
four hundred French and two hundred and twenty Indians, 
invaded the flourishing settlement of Saratoga, overcame 
the garrison, killed and took nearly the entire population 
prisoners, and laid every building in ashes, excepting a new 
mill standing out of their course. The affair is represent- 

1 Mrs. Grant's Memoirs of Madame Schuyler. 



174 LIFE OF SIH WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART, 

chap, eel as having been " barbarous," in the only contempora- 
v-^_> neous written account of it which I have been able to find j 
1745 - the number of persons killed, however, is not stated. 1 But 
the slaughter must have been considerable, since Governor 
Clinton, in a speech to the assembly several weeks after- 
ward, says, "many of our people were murdered." Among 
the slain was the brave Captain Schuyler, a brother of Co- 
lonel Phillip Schuyler. More than one hundred prisoners 
were taken away, a majority of whom were blacks, — slaves, 
it is presumed. Thirty families were sacrificed in the mas- 
sacre ; a description of the horrors of which would be but 
a repetition of the story of Schenectady, fifty-five years be- 
fore. 2 So adroitly had the enemy concerted their plans, 
that every house must have been attacked at nearly the 
same instant of time. One family only escaped, the foot- 
steps of whose flight were lighted by the conflagration. 

From Saratoga the invaders crossed the Hudson, and 
swept with equal desolation the village of Hoosic. A small 
fort at this place, commanded by Col. Hawks, made a 
spirited defence, but was compelled to surrender. These 
events laid the settlements naked and open to the ravages 
of the enemy down to the very gates of Albany, spreading 
general consternation through the interior of the province. 
The inhabitants in the settlements most exposed rushed 
into Albany for security; and the males of that city capable 
of bearing arms, were obliged to go upon the watch in the 
environs, each in his turn every other night. 3 

Immediately on the receipt of these unwelcome tidings in 
New York, the governor transmitted a message announcing 
the facts to the general assembly, written under the 

x Ms. letter from Robert Sanders, of Albany, to " Mr. William Johnson, 
merchant at Mount Johnson, " in which the writer says : In obedience to 
your request I shall bear in mind that this is not the Saratoga watering 
place of modern days, but the old town of Saratoga lying upon the margin 
of the Hudson river, rendered yet more famous in history by the surrender 
of General Burgoyne upon its plains in 1777- 

2 Dunlop's History of New York. 

3 Sanders's letter. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 175 

strong excitement of the moment, and upbraiding that chap. 
body for its disregard of those measures of defence which *-v— ' 
had so frequently been urged upon its consideration. 174 ' 5 - 
"The like was never known," he said, " that one part of a 
government should be left to be butchered by the enemy, 
without assistance from the other." The high road from 
Crown Point to Albany, was now open to the enemy, and 
he again called upon the assembly for means to enable him 
to erect a proper fort at the carrying-place, and such other 
defences as might be necessary for the protection of the set- 
tlements in the neighborhood of the places that had been 
destroyed. Further provision was also demanded for the 
Indian service, the exigence having now occurred which 
would authorize the governor to call the Six Nations forth- 
with into the service. Supplies were moreover indispens- 
able for subsisting the troops and militia from the city, 
and the lower counties which must be detailed to the north 
for its protection. The sharp tone of the message gave 
offence. And yet it was very natural that the governor, 
who certainly was chargeable with no neglect of duty him- 
self, should speak to those who were, in terms of earnest- 
ness, if not of reproof. 1 

Suppressing their resentment at the governor's tartness, 
for the moment, however, the assembly declared its readi- 
ness at all times, " to concur, cheerfully, in every reasonable 
measure for the honor of his majesty, and for the welfare 
and security of this colony ; for the assistance, also, of our 
neighbors, and for any well-concerted plan, consistent with 
the circumstances of the colony, for distressing and har- 
rassing the enemy." As an earnest of their sincerity in 
this declaration, bills were passed making liberal appropri- 
ations for the service, accompanied by a resolution for 
building the oft-recommended fortress at the carrying-place, 

1 It is asserted by Smith, that the governor's irritation with the assembly 
had been excited a few days before the receipt of the news from Saratoga, 
by its proceedings in the case of the contested election of Edward Holland, 
to which transaction I shall have occasion again to advert. 



176 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, and for rebuilding the fort at Saratoga. A resolution was 
w v — ' also adopted authorizing bounties to be given for scalps, 
1745 - taken either by white men or Indians, provided that that 
barbarous mode of warfare should be resorted to in the 
first instance by the enemy. Having done thus much for 
the military service, and passed the annual salary and sup- 
ply bills, the assembly adjourned over from the twenty- 
eighth of November to the seventeenth of December, 
" then to meet at the house of Rear Admiral "Warren, in 
Greenwich." 1 

Early in December an important letter was laid before 
the privy council from Colonel Philip Schuyler, requesting 
the governor to send up three hundred men from the 
militia of the lower counties for the defence of Albany 
and Schenectady, and also asking for the immediate re- 
building of the fort at Saratoga where his brother had 
been slain. These requests had been in part anticipated 
by the governor, the two companies of independent fu- 
sileers stationed in New York having been ordered upon 
that service, who were then on their way. Tet, notwith- 
standing the pressing nature of the emergency, the re- 
moval of these troops from the metropolis caused dissatis- 
faction, and the local militia refused to perform duty as 
sentinels at the governor's residence, or at any other 
place save within the walls of the fort. Conceiving this 
conduct a high personal indignity, the attention of the 
executive council was called to the subject, by whom an 
order was passed directing that the refractory conscripts 
should be compelled to perform the duty required. 2 In 
addition to the fusileers, a competent number of the mili- 
tia were drafted for the frontier service, which was not 
very desirable to the yeomanry of the counties, espe- 
cially in winter ; and a spirit of insubordination among 

1 See journals of the colonial assembly. The prevalence of the small- 
pox in the city, — the simple antidote to that terrible disease of Dr. Jenner 
not having been discovered until nearly half a century afterward — rendering 
the change expedient. 

2 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 




.M.\.M>M KE^EHAIL IMIIUP § r I [ VY i EB 



/ 7 /.;. 



t/ 




LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 177 

them, manifested in several respects, but particularly in c "y P ' 
their refusal to aid in building the fort at Saratoga, gave v — n — ' 
Colonel Schuyler no small amount of trouble. 1 There 
was probably cause for dissatisfaction among these levies, 
to some extent, arising not only from an ill-supplied com- 
missariat, and the consequent absence of many things 
necessary for their comfort in a rigorous winter climate, but 
also from the want of a hospital for the sick, there being 
none at Albany. Nevertheless the work at Saratoga 
went slowly forward, by such assistance as could be ob- 
tained from the people in that part of the country, covered 
by patrols of a few militia and about forty Indians upon 
whom Schuyler had prevailed to engage in that service. 

On the whole, therefore, the winter set in gloomily. The 
entire frontier of New England and New York was ex- 
posed to the incursions of an agile and subtle enemy, 
certain to strike if opportunity presented, and yet equally 
certain to conceal the point of attack until the fall of the 
blow. On the eleventh of December, Mr. Low, governor of 
Connecticut, wrote to Mr. Clinton that a force of six hund- 
red Frenchmen and Indians was investing Stockbridge, 
against whom he had ordered a force to march with all 
possible alacrity. Several months previously, the gover- 
nor of Georgia had written that he had been advised 
through the Chickasaws of a general movement against 
the northern colonies, by the Indians as remote even as the 
Mississippi valley, acting in alliance with those upon the 
great lakes, — all of whom had been instigated against the 
English by the French governor at New Orleans. This 
rumor was now received through a different channel, with 
the additional statement that these distant Indians were to 
join the French from Canada, and strike from the west- 
ward upon the settlements of Orange, Ulster, and Albany 
counties, — especially upon the towns of Esopus and Mini- 

1 Manuscript journals of executlue council, correspondence of Colonel 
Schuyler. 

2 Letter from a surgeon to the executive council. 

23 



178 LIFE OF SIR WILLLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

ohap. sink, — and also upon the frontiers of New Jersey and 
—v—- Pennsylvania ; while certain suspicious movements among 
1745 - the clans of Indians yet remaining in Orange and Ulster, 
who had withdrawn themselves suddenly from their hunt- 
ing-grounds, served to strengthen the apprehension. But 
in regard to these latter clans, the alarm was allayed in a 
short time by a communication from Colonel DeKay, of 
Orange, who had induced them to come back and renew 
the chain of their covenant. The colonel was actually 
bound to some of their chiefs by a chain, for an hour or 
more, at their request, as an evidence that the two peo- 
ples were fast bound to each other. 1 

Meantime the general assembly met again on the seven- 
teenth of December, the session being opened by a speech, 
short and to the purpose. After a brief statement of the 
measures he had adopted for the public defence during the 
recess, and asking for such an appropriation as would enable 
him to build a fort of stone, "large and strong," at the 
locality so often designated north of Albany, to guard the 
carrying-place between the Hudson river and Lake 
Champlain, the governor again urged the adoption of 
such measures as would enable him to form a union for 
the more efficient prosecution of the war with the other 
colonies, a proposition which had again been pressed upon 
his consideration by the government of Massachusetts. 
Some action of this kind had become the more necessary, 
inasmuch as there was reason to believe that the French 
were organizing a powerful force in Canada, with the de- 
sign of penetrating into the heart of New York. Among 
the documents communicated with the speech, was a let- 
ter from Doctor Colden, dated at Coldenham, in the 
county of Orange, stating that the French had now a 
considerable party among the Six Nations, industriously 
engaged in sowing the seeds of disaffection, and in 
promoting their own interests. Certain \t was, that 

1 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 179 

by means of some adverse influence, the Confederates chap. 

. . iv. 

were again occupying a doubtful position. This appears v— ^ 

from the fact, that immediately after the disaster at Sara- 1745 - 
toga, the governor had directed the Indian commission- 
ers at Albany, to send an interpreter into the Iroquois 
country, requiring of them a compliance with their en- 
gagements in such a contingency, made at the treaty. The 
order for them to "draw the hatchet from their bosoms," 
and proceed immediately against the enemy, was peremp- 
tory. But the chiefs refused a compliance with the man- 
date ; and the commissioners, in announcing the result of 
the mission, suggested the calling of another council 
larger than the former, at which they thought it would be 
necessary to send the Indians oiF upon some expedition 
before they should return to their castles. 1 This unex- 
pected information was announced to the general assem- 
bly by a special message ; and the dispatch from the 
commissioners was referred to a committee of the execu- 
tive council for consideration. 

But notwithstanding the irritation which the faithless- 
ness of the Indians was so well calculated to produce, Mr. 
Horsmanden, chairman of the committee of reference, 
made an able and humane report, going so far in extenu- 
ation of their conduct as almost to justify their sullen re- 
fusal to enter into the war. It was considered that they 
were a scattered people, and their cantons remote 
from each other ; and whatever other plausible pretexts 
they might themselves assign for their conduct, it could 
not be doubted that they were under terrible apprehen- 
sions for the safety of their own wives and children, 
should they engage in the contest, since in the absence of 
their warriors, who were to protect their own country from 
the French and their Indians? The committee there- 
fore recommended that forts and garrisons should be es- 
tablished in the country of the Confederates, as places of 
security for the women and children, and the old men, in 

1 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 



180 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, case of invasion. This measure would give confidence to 
v-^—* the chiefs ; and the committee therefore recommended a 

1745. correspondence with the other colonies upon the subject, 
with a view of obtaining assistance in the erection of the 
works proposed. 1 

1746. The importance of an alliance with the New England 
colonies, both for mutual security, and for offensive and 
defensive operations, was by this time becoming more ob- 
vious, and the recommendations of the governor began 
now to be received with greater favor by the assembly 
than previous to this threatened Indian defection. Accord- 
ingly, on the twenty-fourth of January the house asked of 
the council its concurrence in a resolution for the appoint- 
ment of a joint committee upon the state of the colony. 
The proposition was acceeded to ; and the result of their 
deliberations, after their action had been again quickened 
by an Indian alarm, was the sanction, in the spring, of the 
project which had been so long and so much desired by 
the executive, and so blindly resisted by the representa- 
tives of the people. 2 The commissioners appointed to 
confer with those from New England, were Philip Living- 
ston, Daniel Horsmanden, and Joseph Murray, of the 
council ; Philip Verplanck and "William Nicholl, of the 
assembly. 

An improved spirit of liberality was likewise evinced as 
to appropriations for the public defence, and for other 
branches of the service. Yet the proceedings of the As- 
sembly, upon some of these measures at least, were not 
characterized by the greatest harmony. There was an in- 
creasing hostility in the lower house against the governor ; 
the assembly and council were at odds upon a question of 
parliamentary law, involving, indirectly, the royal preroga- 

1 Manuscript journals of the executive council. 

2 The committee on the part of the council, recommending this course, con- 
sisted of Chief Justice DeLancey, Joseph Murray, Daniel Horsmanden, and 
John Moore. On the part of the house, the committee consisted of Mr. 
Clarkson, Captain Richards, Major Van Home, Mr. Cruger, Mr. Verplanck, 
Colonel Beekman, Captain Livingston, and Colonel Chambers. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 181 

tive, and finally, the members of the assembly fell into chap. 
discreditable fends among themselves touching the distri- w v _* 
bution of the public burdens among their respective coun- 1746, 
ties, 1 The mixed question of parliamentary law and pre- 
rogative, arose on a disagreement between the legislative 
council and the assembly, upon the details of a bill au- 
thorizing an emission of bills of credit to the amount of 
ten thousand pounds. Before the introduction of the bill, 
the assembly had inquired of the governor whether he 
had any objection to an emission of paper money to meet 
the exigencies of the country ; to which question the proper 
answer was given by Mr. Clinton, that " when the bill came 
to him he would declare his opinion." 2 The bill was there- 
fore introduced and passed by the assembly ; but the coun- 
cil, disapproving of certain of its provisions, requested a 
conference. The assembly, however, declared that inas- 
much as it was a money bill, they would consent to no such 
course upon the subject. The council thereupon summa- 
rily rejected the bill, and sent up an address to the govern- 
or, written by the chief justice, DeLancey, setting forth 
their reasons, by which their course had been governed. 
One of the objections to the bill, according to this repre- 
sentation, was found in the fact, " that the money proposed 
to be raised by the bill was not granted to his majesty, or 
to be issued by warrants in council, as it ought to have 
been, and as has usually been done." This objection in- 
volved the old question of the royal prerogative — nothing 
more. On the subject of the right claimed by the assem- 
bly of exclusive power over the details of money bills, the 
address asserted "the equal right of the council to exercise 
their judgments upon these bills." Various other ob- 
jections of detail were suggested; but the two points spe- 
cified above, were the only grounds of principle upon which 
the council relied in justification of its course. Yet the 
unreasonableness of the assumption of the house, that the 

1 Smith's History of New York,yo\. ii, p. 94. 

2 Ibid, p. 96. 



182 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, council should not be allowed even to point out and rectify 
v-^—/ the defects of anything which they chose to call a money 
1746> bill, was argued at considerable length. 1 

Just at this point of collision, the small pox, which had 
driven the assembly from the city, appeared in Greenwich, 
producing a panic that for several days entirely arrested 
the course of business. The assembly prayed for a recess 
from the ninth of March to the twelfth of April, and also 
for leave to adjourn their sittings to some other place. Ja- 
maica and Brooklyn were suggested ; but in the opinion 
of the governor the demands of the public service forbade 
so long an interregnum, and he therefore directed their ad- 
journment for a week, then to meet in the borough of 
Westchester. They convened there accordingly ; but the 
inconvenience of the locality was such that the members 
begged permission to adjourn, even back to the infected 
city again, rather than remain where they were. In the 
end the governor directed them to adjourn to Brooklyn, at 
which place the transaction of business was resumed on 
the twentieth of March, on which day an address to the 
governor was ordered to be prepared, in answer to that of 
the council respecting the rejection of the before mentioned 
revenue bill. 

Whether such an address was prepared or not, the jour- 
nals of the assembly afford no information ; but the bill 
appears to have died between the two houses. Still, the 
dangers and necessities of the country were such as to for- 
bid inaction, whatever might become of questions of pre- 
rogative, or of legislative etiquette. Letters from the in- 
terior were pouring in upon the governor and council 
full of alarming reports, and asking for assistance at va- 
rious points. The inhabitants of Kinderhook and Clave- 
rack, now that the fort at Hoosic had been destroyed, and 
the settlement deserted, petitioned for the erection of a 
couple of block-houses for their security ; large parties of 



i Journals of the legislative council, from the proceedings at length. 



LIFE OF Sill WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 183 

the enemy were traversing the country about Saratoga, chap. 
the garrison of which, weak and uneasy, threatened de->- v -' 
sertion; parties both of French and Indians were infesting 1746 - 
the environs of Albany and Schenectady, destroying pro- 
perty, and killing and scalping, or snatching into captivity 
such of the inhabitants as ventured beyond the walls ; the 
emissaries of the French, of whom the Jesuit priest, Jean 
Coeur, was the leader, were holding the Six Nations in 
check, and preventing them from going upon the war-path, 
while advices were received from the Canajoharie castle 
that the governor of Canada had invited the Confederates 
to a meeting with him at Onondaga, which invitation had 
been accepted. 1 The settlements in the interior, not ex- 
cepting the considerable towns of Albany and Schenecta- 
dy, were, therefore, in a state of general panic. A stronger 
principle than that of prerogative, if not than that of po- 
litical liberty, demanded, with irresistible emphasis, some 
efficient action from the legislature. Before the close of 
the session, therefore, another revenue bill, originating in 
a spirit of compromise, and yet making no essential con- 
cession on the part of the representatives of the people, 
was passed by both houses, and received the signature of 
the governor. 

This bill provided for raising a supply of thirteen thou- 
sand pounds, by a tax on estates, real and personal, and for 
emitting bills of credit to the same amount for the public 

1 Ms. journals and correspondence of the executive council. Among the 
letters written about this time was one from the Indian commissioners stating 
that certain persons for a suitable compensation were willing to undertake 
to bring Jean Coeur from the Seneca country to Albany. The commission- 
ers thought it an important object, but it seems not to have been acted upon. 
A letter was also received from Arent Stevens, a landholder residing at the 
Canajoharie castle, announcing that the Caughnawaga Indians had sent a 
belt from Canada, desiring to come back to reside in their native valley. 
On the same day a communication was received from John Henry Lydius, 
who had an intimate knowledge of the Caughnawagas, proposing a scheme 
for persuading them to the same course. But these suggestions came to 
nothing. 



184 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, service, and creating a sinking fund for their redemption. 1 
J^w But though the bill was passed by the council without 
1746 - amendment, it did not get through wholly without oppo- 
sition. Chief Justice DeLancey, usually among the most 
strenuous supporters of the prerogatives of the crown, it 
is true, yielded his hostility to the popular demand ; but 
Mr. Rutherford recorded his protest upon the journals of 
the council at length. His objections were manifold as to 
the details of the bill, but the objection in chief was one 
of principle. The bill, he contended, proposed a method 
of raising a revenue which should be resorted to only in 
case of extreme necessity ; the amount proposed to be 
raised, was to be applied wholly to the object set forth in 
the bill ; — the points of defence designated would be en- 
tirely insufficient for the protection of Albany county ; — 
but above, and more than all, the Assembly had in the bill 
encroached upon the royal prerogative by nominating offi- 
cers to receive and apply the money to be raised, and by 
designating the sites of the defences to be constructed, — 
duties properly belonging to the commander-in-chief. 

On the other hand, the majority of the council caused 
to be entered upon the journals, the reasons which impelled 
them to vote for the bill. These were, in chief, the exi- 
gencies of the country at large, and especially the perilous 
condition of the frontier, — the enemy having appeared in 
the environs both of Albany and Schenectady, where seve- 
ral bloody outrages had been committed. In answer to 
Mr. Rutherford's objections touching the prerogative, the 
majority of the council said that the provisions objected to 
had been inserted, and the officers designated in the bill 

i The annual tax by which, it was proposed that the bills should be re- 
deemed in three years, amounted to the sum of £4,331. 10s. 8d The ap- 
portionment was as follows:— New York £1,444 8s. lid. ;— Albany, £622. 
3s . 9 j ; _Kings, £254. 18s. OJrf;— Queens, £487. 9s. 5^;— Suffolk, £433. 6s. 
gd. ;— Richmond, £131. 6s. 2>\d. ;— Westchester, £240. 14s. 8Jrf. ;— Ulster, 
£393. 18s. 9^;— Orange, £144. 8s. 10^ ;— Dutchess, £180. lis. l%d;— To- 
tal, £4,331. 10s. 8d. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOIINSON, BART. 185 

named, with the consent of the governor. It will be at chap. 

IV. 

once perceived that this arrangement with the executive <~~ Y —' 
was a mere subterfuge. The victory was with the repre- 1746 - 
sentatives of the people. And it was signal ; deserving of 
special note as marking the progress of the great princi- 
ples of popular liberty. 1 

The general assembly had now been in session, with a 
very few brief intermissions, for nearly a twelvemonth, and 
although it had done much, yet the fruits of its labors were 
not altogether satisfactory. In addition to the passage of 
the revenue bill as already rehearsed, a resolution had been 
adopted directing the construction of six strong block- 
houses, three of the number to be planted between the 
south-west frontier garrison of Massachusetts, and the post 
at Saratoga ; and the other three between Saratoga and 
Fort William in the upper Mohawk country. The appro- 
priation for these objects, however, had been diverted from 
the greater and more essential projects of a substantial 
fortress at the earrying-place, — orders for the construction 
of which had been given by the governor early in the 
preceding winter, and without which there could be no se- 
curity against invasions from Crown Point at the pleasure 
of its commander. One hundred and fifty pounds were 
voted for repairing the works at Oswego ; three thousand 
three hundred and seventy-five pounds w^ere directed to be 
raised by lottery, to be applied to the defences of the city 
and harbor of New York ; — the fort at Schenectady was 
directed to be repaired ; — a corps of rangers were to be or- 
ganized for the protection of the western lines of Ulster 
and Orange counties ; — the militia laws were amended with 
a view to their greater vigor, in conformity with the wishes 
of the governor; — and the resolution of the preceding 
session, offering a bounty upon scalps, was enacted into a 
law. But although the fortress of Louisburg was threat- 
ened with a formidable attack from France, and although 
Governor Shirley, Sir William Pepperell, and Admiral 

1 See the proceedings at large in the journals of the legislative counoil. 
24 



186 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Warren had been pressing Mr. Clinton for months to send 
Wy—/ forward the quota of reinforcements which New York had 
1746 - been required to supply, yet the assembly peremptorily 
refused a compliance with trie demand. They would not 
even provide a convoy to guard a transport ship then in 
the harbor of New York, destined to the assistance of that 
garrison, which had been greatly weakened by fever and 
other causes. There had indeed been from the first a re- 
luctance in the assembly to cooperate with the New Eng- 
land colonies in regard to the conquest of Cape Breton, 
not wholly susceptible of explanation ; but for their present 
course at least a plausible excuse was found in the weak 
and exposed condition of their own colony. 



CHAPTER V. 
1746. 

The period is now approached at which the long, ardu- chap 
Ous, and in many respects brilliant public career of Sir^,*, 
William Johnson commenced. During the stirring scenes 1746. 
rehearsed in the two preceding chapters, Mr. Johnson 
had been pushing his fortunes as a private citizen, with a 
degree of discernment and energy that marked him as no 
common man. His removal from the south to the north 
side of the Mohawk river, has already been noted. In 
the year 1744 he erected a valuable flouring mill upon the 
brisk stream falling into the Mohawk about two miles 
west of the Chucktanunda creek, in the town of Amster- 
dam, — where he also built an elegant stone mansion for 
his own residence ; conferring upon the estate the name of 
Mount Johnson. Not only thus early had he become 
known to Governor Clinton, but a correspondence was 
shortly afterward commenced between them which soon 
became close and confidential ; and their acquaintance 
ultimately ripened into the relations of cordial intimacy. 
It is very probable that Johnson's introduction to the new 
governor at so early a period of his administration, was 
effected by Mr. DeLancey, the chief justice, whose daugh- 
ter it will be remembered was the wife of Sir Peter "War- 
ren, and consequently the aunt, by marriage, of the young 
adventurer. Mr. Clinton, almost immediately on coming 
to the government, had resigned himself passively in- 
to the hands of the chief justice ; l and that sagacious 
jurisconsult, would scarce be slow to advance the fortunes 
of a family connexion, whose talents, sagacity, and enter- 

1 Vide Mass. Hist. Collections, vol. xiii, p. 79. 



188 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, prise pointed him out as a man who might one day be of 

v-v— ' importance in sustaining his own interests. Political 

1746. friendships, however, are seldom constant or enduring ; 

and it will be seen hereafter that the subsequent relations 

— at least for a time —between DeLancey and Johnson, 

form no exception to the remark. 

During the years 1744 and 1745, Mr. Johnson's atten- 
tion must have been closely applied to his own commer- 
cial affairs, already widely extended. From his corre- 
spondence it appears that he was in both those years often 
shipping furs to London, and was likewise engaged in the 
flour trade with the West India islands, — making ship- 
ments also to Curracoa and Halifax. 1 Still his time was 
not thus exclusively occupied, since it appears that in the 
month of April, 1745, he was commissioned one of his 
majesty's justices of the peace for the county of Albany — 
being the first official appointment conferred upon him. 2 
He was moreover beginning to participate actively in the 
political concerns of the colony, his influence being put in 
requisition in the autumn of the last mentioned year, to aid 
in the return of his friend Mr. Holland to the general as- 
sembly for the township of Schenectady. The election 
of this gentleman was strongly desired by the governor, — 
a reason of itself sufficient to enlist the exertions of 
Johnson. Holland was returned ; but in order to annoy 
the governor, the assembly, upon a flimsy pretext, insuffi- 
cient in law, and in every other respect entirely indefensi- 
ble, excluded him from his seat, as has been mentioned in 
a note upon a preceding page. Justly indignant at this 
unjustifiable procedure toward his favorite, Mr. Clinton 
manifested his feelings by the acrimony of his message 
terminating the session. The rejection of Mr. Holland 
was nevertheless the making of his political fortunes, in- 
asmuch as it procured for him the mayoralty of the city 
of New York and a seat at the council board. 

1 Private correspondence in manuscript. 

2 Manuscript letter of Edward Holland enclosing the commission. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 189 

As I have not been able to ascertain the date of Mr. chap. 
Johnson's marriage, so likewise have I found it impossible ^ — ■ 
to ascertain the time of his wife's decease. It has always 1746 - 
been understood that she died young ; but a few years af- 
ter their union ; and before her husband had acquired 
either civil or military renown ; yet not until after she had 
given birth to a son, — afterward Sir John Johnson, — and 
to two daughters, — Mary and Nancy. But although the 
exact time of her death cannot be determined, there is 
reason to believe that it took place at least as early as the 
summer of 1745. It has already been noted, more than 
once, that it was Mr. Johnson's policy to cultivate an in- 
timate acquaintance with the Indians. Being largely en- 
gaged in commerce with them, his facilities to that end 
were great ; and no white man perhaps, ever succeded in 
more entirely winning their confidence. He mingled 
with them freely; joined in their sports; and at pleasure 
assumed both their costumes and their manners, and cast 
them aside, as circumstances might require. He was con- 
sequently fast gaining an ascendency over them upon 
which the French looked with exceeding jealousy. It be- 
came therefore an object with the latter either to cut, or to 
take him off — an object which it will presently appear was 
seriously meditated in the autumn of 1745. Among the 
private letters of Mr. Johnson escaping the ravages of 
time and chance, is one from Mr. James "Wilson, of 
Albany, addressed to ""William Johnson Esquire," and 
dated "November 26th, 1745," from which the following 
passage is extracted : — " Mother desires you to come down 
and live here this winter, until these troublesome times 
are a little over. They have kept a room on purpose for 
you, and they beg that you will send down the best of 
your things directly. There is room enough for your 
servants, if you will bring them down. I would not have 
you stay at your own house, for the French have told our 
Indians that they will have you dead or alive, because you 
are a relation of Captain Warren, their great adversary. 



190 LIFE OF SIK WILLIAM JOHNSON,- BART. 

chap. Therefore I beg you will not be too resolute and stay, If 
v—y—/ you will not come yourself, I beg you will send your 
1746. books and papers, and the best of your things." The en- 
tire silence of this letter in regard to Mrs. Johnson, and 
the appropriation of only a single room for his occupancy, 
induces the supposition that she must have died previous 
to the time when it was written. Still this conclusion is 
merely conjectural ; and to say the truth, but little can be 
ascertained respecting Mr. Johnson's domestic relations 
for several years of this portion of his life. 

Resuming then, the course of public events : The views 
of Governor Shirley were comprehensive, and in planning 
the expedition against Cape Breton, they had by no means 
been confined to the reduction of that island. His design 
comprehended nothing short of another eifort for the entire 
subjugation of Canada, — an object that had several times 
been attempted, but always without success. The conquest 
of Louisburg by the provincials, aided by the fleet, af- 
forded strong encouragement for attempting the larger 
enterprise. With this great design uppermost in his mind, 
Shirley made a visit to Louisburg after its fall, to confer 
upon the project with Pepperell and Warren. In the flush 
of their late brilliant success, his views were warmly second- 
ed by those officers ; and such representations were made 
to the ministers at home as prevailed upon them to approve 
the undertaking. A circular was accordingly issued by the 
duke of Newcastle, on the ninth of April, 1746, directed 
to the governors of all the British American colonies, 
south to Virginia inclusive, requiring them to raise as many 
men as they could spare, and form them into companies of 
one hundred each, to be in readiness for taking the field. 
The design was to attack the enemy's territory simultane- 
ously from two directions. The New England troops, to 
be first in motion, were to proceed to Louisburg, there to 
be joined by a squadron of ships of war with a large body 
of land forces from England. These combined forces were 
then to proceed south and ascend the St. Lawrence against 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 191 

Quebec ; while the provincial troops of New York and the chap. 
other colonies upon which the requisition had been made, - — „ — ■ 
together with the Iroquois Indians, provided they could be 1746 - 
brought heartily into the service, after being concentrated 
at Albany, were to make a descent upon Crown Point and 
Montreal. The expedition from Louisburg was to be com- 
manded by General Sir John St. Clair, acting in conjunction 
with Sir Peter Warren and Governor Shirley. The com- 
mand of the other division was committed to Brigadier 
General Gooch, the lieutenant-governor of Virginia, who, 
six years before, had signalized himself in the unsuccess- 
ful expedition against Carthagena. Sir William Pepperell 
and Sir Peter Warren both visited Boston early in the 
spring, to confer jointly with Shirley upon the business of 
the enterprise ; l but Warren wag shortly ordered home, 
where, on the fourteenth day of July he was advanced to 
the rank of rear admiral of the white. 2 His successor in 
the command of the American squadron, was Commodore 
Knowles. But this officer proposed remaining at Louis- 
burg, so that all the preparatory arrangements devolved 
upon Shirley. 3 

The project of this formidable enterprise had been com- 
municated to the government of New York by Mr. Shirley, 
as early as the second week in January, and was received 
with high favor. 4 The general assembly met again on the 
third day of June, in Brooklyn, being deterred from sitting 
in the city by the small-pox. A message from the governor 
informed them that during the recess such had been the 
alarming state of affairs at the north, that an additional 
force of three hundred men had been drafted from the sev- 
eral counties, and ordered to Albany for the protection of 

1 Belknap 

* Charnock. 
3 Belknap. 

* Smith's History says it was approved by the general assembly on the 
twenty-fifth of February, for which statement the author had the authority 
of a message from Governor Clinton of June six ; but the legislative jour- 
nals do not sustain the assertion. 



192 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, the frontier. The exigency had fully warranted such an 
« — r — i exercise of discretionary power on the part of the govern- 
1/46 or . for the records of the privy council disclose the fact 
that the most urgent letters for assistance had been received 
from the Indian commissioners at Albany, in consequence 
of the murders and scalpings perpetrated in that neighbor- 
hood ; and on the very day when the legislature reassem- 
bled, an account was transmitted from the commissioners 
of a skirmish between some of the northern settlers and a 
party of French and Indians, in which one of the latter was 
killed. The assembly readily voted the necessary supplies 
for the exigency, increasing the amount for the support of 
two hundred levies more than had previously been called 
into service, thirty of whom were to be stationed in Kin- 
derhook, and the residue between Albany and Schenec- 
tady. Fifty Indians were likewise to be employed if they 
could be raised for the better security of the last mentioned 
town. But the assistance of the Indians was doubtful, — 
the commissioners having ascertained at an interview with 
several of their chiefs that they were reluctant to any bel- 
ligerent action until after a grand council of their warriors 
could be held at Onondaga. 1 

On the sixth day of June, a message by the hand of Mr. 
Goldsborow Banyar, who, four days previously, had been 
appointed deputy secretary to the colony, required the 
presence of the assembly in the council-chamber, where 
the governor announced in a speech the receipt of the be- 
fore-mentioned circular from the duke of Newcastle, and 
requested the cooperation of the legislature in all measures 
necessary for a prompt and efficient prosecution of the in- 
tended campaign. An outline of the plan of the intended 
double invasion of the French possessions, has already been 
given. All needful information was imparted to the as- 
sembly upon the subject, and a long letter from the duke 
of Newcastle was also laid before the council, stating that 
General St. Clair would sail from England with five bat- 

1 Manuscript records of the council board. 



LIFE OJ Sill WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 193 

tallions of regulars, who were to be joined at LouisburgCtfAp. 
by two regiments more from Gibraltar, and urging it upon ^^-^ 
the colony of New York not only to put forth its utmost 1746 ' 
strength upon the occasion, but if possible to obtain the 
active cooperation of the Indians. 1 

These communications were received in the best possible 
spirit, both by the legislature and the people. There was 
indeed universal rejoicing at the prospect of speedily crush- 
ing the power of France in America, — it being evident to 
all that there could be no permanent repose until that work 
should be accomplished. In the council, Mr. Justice Hors- 
manden moved the address, and Mr. Clarkson in the as- 
sembly, both of which breathed a dutiful degree of loyalty, 
and a lofty spirit of patriotism. Especially did the assem- 
bly pledge itself that hearts and hands should be employed 
in the great work proposed, and that its proceedings should 
be conducted with such unanimity and despatch as should 
attest their duty, loyalty, and gratitude to his majesty. A 
kindred feeling prevailed in every direction, both with the 
local government, and the people. True indeed, the legis- 
lature of Massachusetts had in the outset manifested some 
disinclination to participate in the enterprise, burdened as 
she was with the debt incurred by the Louisburg expedition, 
not yet reimbursed by the parent government f but the ar- 
guments of Shirley, strengthened by the out-breaks of the 
Canadian Indians upon their frontiers, overcame their re- 
luctance, and all was now enthusiasm among the people, — 
the New England colonies directing their energies toward 
the eastern division of the expedition. Governor Hamil- 
ton, of New Jersey, wrote on the second of July, that that 
little colony had voted to raise five hundred men for the 
enterprise, and a contribution of two thousand pounds for 
the military chest. General Gooch wrote from Virginia, 
enclosing a bill of exchange of three hundred pounds, with 

1 Graham's History of North America. 
a Manuscript records of the council board. 
25 



194 LIFE OF SIE WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, directions that it be applied to the purchase of presents for 

—^ the Indians. 1 

1746. Mr. Horsmanden, from a committee of the privy coun- 
cil, appointed to consider and report as to the best measures 
to be adopted in furtherance of the great enterprise, made 
an elaborate report on the thirteenth of June. The active 
cooperation of the Six Nations was regarded by the commit- 
tee as an object of high moment ; to secure which the com- 
missioners at Albany were advised to dispatch an interpret- 
er, with two assistants, into the Indian country, to dance the 
war dance among them by way of rekindling a military 
spirit, especially with the young warriors ; and also to in- 
vite the chiefs and prominent warriors of the entire confede- 
racy to meet the governor in a grand council, to be holden 
at an early day in Albany. Presents were likewise recom- 
mended upon a liberal scale, to be given, not as compen- 
sation, but as incentives to action, — the Indians always fight- 
ing for honor, and scouting the idea of going upon the 
war-path for pay. 2 

Four days afterward, the house of assembly asked of the 
council a committee of conference for the purpose of joint 
deliberation upon the condition of the colony. The request 
was acceded to ; and every branch of the government unit- 
ed heart and hand in every possible measure for advancing 
the grand design. 3 An act was promptly passed the more 
effectually to prevent the exportation of provisions and war- 
like stores. In order to the descent upon Crown Point and 
Montreal, a fleet of bateaux was essential for the naviga- 
tion of Lakes George and Champlain. Stephen Bayard and 
Edward Holland, members of the council, were deputed 
to superintend the building of the bateaux. They report- 
ed on the sixth of July that the ship-builders had all refused 

1 Manuscript council minutes. 

a Ibid. 

3 The committee on the part of the council consisted of Chief Justice De 
Lancey, and Messrs. Van Courtlandt, Horsmanden, Murray, and More. The 
chief justice, however, seems to have acted no very efficient part during the 
■whole year, — for reasons which will appear hereafter. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 195 

to perform the work, under the pretext that they were em- chap. 
ployed in the execution of prior engagements. This con- v-^ 
duct of the naval architects formed an exception to the 1746 - 
general disposition of the people ; and a bill was forthwith 
introduced, and expeditiously passed into a law, authorizing 
the impressment into the public service, of all ship and 
house-carpenters, joiners, sawyers, and their several ser- 
vants, and all other artificers and laborers whose assistance 
might be required for the state, together with horses, 
wagons, and whatsoever else might be required to forward 
the expedition. 1 Resolutions were adopted allowing a 
bounty of six pounds for the enlistment of each able-bodied 
man into the king's service, over and above his pay ; six 
thousand pounds were appropriated for the purchase of pro- 
visions for the colony's levies ; three hundred men were by 
law directed to be detached for the army from the city of 
Albany ; and to cover the expense of these and other 
appropriations demanded by the exigence, a tax of forty 
thousand pounds was imposed upon the real and personal 
estate of the colony, and an emission of bills of credit au- 
thorized to enable the government to anticipate the avails 
of the tax. Indeed the general assembly hesitated at no 
appropriation that was required, save for the Indian service, 
and for the transportation of troops and military stores. In 
respect to the latter, they refused to advance money to the 
crown, even upon loan, preferring to raise it by bills of ex- 
change, — " a hint which Mr. Clinton improved greatly to 
his own emolument." 2 With respect to the Indian service, 
they conceived that inasmuch as the grand council which 
the governor had already summoned at Albany, pursuant 
to the recommendation of his privy council, was to be con- 
vened for the common benefit of all the exposed colonies, 
they ought all to contribute toward the heavy expenses to 
be incurred, not in presents only, but for their clothing, 
arms and subsistence. Toward these objects Virginia had 

1 Journals of the legislative council. 
* Smith, vol. ii, p. 99. 



196 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, already made a handsome remittance ; but Connecticut and 

» — ; — - Pennsylvania had declined making any contribution ; and by 

1746. a m essage f the ninth of July, Governor Clinton informed 

the assembly that no answers had been received from the 

other colonies to the applications addressed to them upon 

the subject. 

Nevertheless the means for holding the council were not 
wanting ; and having in these matters discharged its duties 
to the public service, the assembly closed its session on the 
fifteenth of July. Not, however, until after a joint address 
of the two houses had been votedtothe king, congratulating 
his majesty upon the defeat of the rebels engaged in the 
cause of the Pretender, by the army under the duke of 
Cumberland. 1 The mover of the resolution for this address 
was the chief justice ; but the journals disclose the unusual 
circumstance, that he was not placed at the head of the 
committee, which was organized thus — Philip Livingston, 
Chief Justice DeLancey, and Mr. Justice Horsmanden. 
The active labor seems to have been performed by the latter. 
Meantime great apprehension prevailed in New England 
at the inaction of the parent government, from which much 
had been promised, and more was expected, and without 
whose powerful cooperation an enterprise so vast as that 

1 The battle of Culloden. The young Prince, Charles Edward, called the 
Pretender, having defeated the royal forces under Sir John Cope at Preston- 
pans, had penetrated a short distance into England ; but finding the people 
unanimous against him, he was compelled to fall back rapidly into Scotland. 
On his return he routed General Hawley at Falkirk, but the approach of the 
duke of Cumberland put an end to his triumph. He retreated before the 
royal army, and at last the hostile forces met in the field of Culloden to de- 
cide the fate of the kingdom. The Scotch fought with accustomed bravery ^ 
but the English prevailed, and the unfortunate youth escaped with difficulty 
from the battle where he left three thousand of his misguided adherents 
dead. Though a large reward was offered for the head of the illustrious 
fugitive, who had thus to combat against want and temptation, yet the 
peasants of Scotland pitied his misfortunes, and even those of his enemies 
who were acquainted with his retreat^kept inviolate the fatal secret, and 
while they condemned his ambition, commiserated his distresses. He at last 
escaped to St. Maloes, and never again revisited the British dominions, — 
dying at Florence in 178& 




' *-*»,,. » m «. t»¥" L 



e^*** 



CHARLES EDWARD STITAJRT. 



T1IK YOl'NO PRKTENDJSR. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 197 

which had been projected, could not within themselves be chap. 
carried forward by the colonies. It has been already stated w v _. 
that eight battalions of regular troops had been promised 1746 - 
by the parent government, to rendezvous at Louisburg. 
The ministers had not specified the contingent of troops 
required from the respective colonies, contenting themselves 
by announcing the wish of the king that the total levies 
should not fall short of five thousand men ; l but, fired with 
ambition to preserve the laurels they had won at Cape Bre- 
ton, the provinces vied with each other in putting forth 
their strength for the achievement of a yet greater exploit, 
and the forces embodied with alacrity exceeded by far the 
expectations entertained at home. New Hampshire voted 
to raise one thousand men, and more if they could be en- 
listed — with a bounty of thirty pounds currency and a 
blanket to each recruit. 2 Of this number eight hundred 
were ready for embarkation by the first of July. Mas- 
sachusetts voted three thousand five hundred men ; Con. 
necticut one thousand ; and Rhode Island three hundred. 
But such was the spirit of the people that a yet larger num- 
ber were actually enlisted. These all were destined for 
Louisburg, and thence for the assault of Quebec. For the 
forces to be directed upon Crown Point and Montreal, New 
York raised sixteen hundred men ; New Jersey five hun- 
dred ; Pennsylvania four hundred, though not by the act 
of its Quaker government, but by a popular act unsanctioned 
by its executive ; Maryland three hundred ; and Virginia 
one hundred ; — making the grand total of provincials eight 
thousand two hundred. But of the promised assistance 
from England, two regiments, only were sent ; and these 
from Gibraltar, to relieve the New England men who had 
garrisoned Louisburg from the clay of the conquest. Of 
other reinforcements none came ; neither the general who 
was to command ; nor fleet ; nor orders. The New Eng- 

1 Grahame. 

? Belknap states the number thus ; but Hutchinson, in a note, affirms that 
New Hampshire voted to raise only five hundred. 



198 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, land levies were mustered and prepared for embarkation,—- 
v-^ — , the transport vessels, moreover, being in readiness to receive 
1746 - them. But their ardor, after weeks of cruel suspense, was 
doomed to a sad disappointment by the inaction of minis- 
ters. Admiral "Warren, after his visit with Pepperell to 
Boston for consultation with Mr. Shirley, had sailed for 
England. It was now mid-summer, and neither troops nor 
tidings arriving from home, it was evident that the season 
was already too far advanced to allow the farther prosecu- 
tion of that branch of the expedition destined against Que- 
bec ; since it was impossible that a fleet could now reach 
Louisburg from England in season to justify an attempt to 
ascend the St. Lawrence. Under these circumstances, al- 
though not without deep chagrin, that important feature 
of the enterprise was abandoned. The strange inaction of 
the parent government on that occasion, has been variously, 
though never satisfactorily accounted for. That a feeling 
of jealousy at the growing strength of the colonies, was 
awakened in England by the conquest of Louisburg, had 
been apparent almost from the moment of its fall ; and co- 
temporary politicians were not wanting, who attributed the 
inaction of 1746 to a feeling on the part of ministers, that 
it might after all be as well to allow Canada unconquered 
to remain as a check upon its young and vigorous Anglo- 
Saxon neighbor. The excuse offered, has been, that min- 
isters had reason to suspect that the armament which the 
French were ostensibly preparing for the reconquest of 
Cape Breton, and possibly for the invasion of some of the 
English colonies, was in reality intended for the invasion 
of Great Britain itself. 1 Be. all this as it may, it was still 
believed that by uniting the Eastern levies with the forces 
collecting in New York for a descent upon Crown Point, a 
combined movement might be made in that direction which 
could not well fail of success. The ISTew England forces 
were accordingly directed to hold themselves in readiness 
to concentrate upon Albany. 

1 Grahame. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 199 

But this scheme in its turn, was disconcerted, and the chap. 

' v. 

anticipated march for Albany was arrested by serious *-^—/ 

alarms from the opposite direction. It was known that 1746 - 
France had been making great preparations, — not, as some 
have affected to believe, for the invasion of England, but 
for the recovery of Louisburg, and the conquest of Nova 
Scotia, — with the ulterior design, as was apprehended, of 
ravaging the sea coasts of the English colonies, from An- 
napolis-Royal to' Georgia. 1 The vigilance with which 
Rochelle, where the preparations were making, had been 
watched by the English, had not prevented the enemy's 
fleet from getting to sea, which it succeeded in accomplish- 
ing on the twenty-second of June. And although the 
English fleet, destined for the interception of the French, 
and also for Louisburg, had put to sea several times, it had 
been driven back as many, being utterly unable to get to 
the westward. It was commanded by Lestock, an admiral 
in whom, certainly, no great confidence ought to have been 
reposed. The fleet of the French was commanded by the 
Count D'Anville, numbering, as it was affirmed, seventy 
sail, fourteen of which were ships of the line ; thirty were 
men of war of a smaller size ; the remainder of the force, 
consisting of fire-ships, bombs, tenders, and transports for 
eight thousand troops, 2 " and a formidable apparatus of 
artillery and military stores." 3 In anticipation of D'An- 
ville's arrival, accounts were received in Boston that a 
French officer named Ramsay, had collected a force of 
seventeen hundred Canadian troops and Indians, to coope- 
rate with the French admiral, which force was even then 
threatening Annapolis-Royal, while the Acadians were 
also known to be rife for a revolt. In order, therefore, to 
prevent the loss of Nova Scotia, the orders for marching 
to Albany were countermanded, and the troops directed 

1 Hutchinson. 
» Ibid. 

s Grahame. This author greatly reduces the number of disciplined 
troops on board D'Anville's fleet, from the statement of Hutchinson and 
other provincial historians — making it no more than three thousand. 



200 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, to embark for Annapolis. Before, however, the embarka- 
v_ v — ! tion had actually taken place, news of D' Anville's arrival 
174 ^ at Chebucto Bay in Nova Scotia was received, and the 
whole country was thereby thrown into a state of conster- 
nation. " England was not more alarmed by the Spanish 
Armada in 1588, than Boston and the other North Ameri- 
can sea ports were by the arrival of this fleet in their neigh- 
borhood." 1 It was not supposed that so formidable an arma- 
ment as that of D'Anville, to equip which the whole power 
of France had been exerted for many months, could be 
destined alone against Louisburg. A recapture of that 
important post would only be the prelude to a sweeping- 
attack upon the entire sea-board ; and feeling themselves 
neglected, if not deserted by the parent government, as 
though willing to see the colonies sacrificed, all thoughts 
of sending away any of their forces were at once aban- 
doned. Shirley was a man of energy, enjoying in a high 
degree the confidence of the people ; and he bore himself 
in the crisis in a manner worthy of his position and his 
character. The first intelligence of D'Anville's arrival 
upon the coast, had filled the public mind, wearied and 
discouraged by the disappointments of the season, with 
dismay. But the elasticity of the New England character 
was soon manifested by the return of all the courage 
and resolution necessary to enable its possessors to look 
danger in the face and to meet it. Under the lead of 
Shirley, therefore, inspired by his example, the whole en- 
ergies of New England were immediately directed to the 
<. now paramount object of self-defence, — to which end all 
hands were at once engaged in putting the country in the 
most commanding attitude. The troops which had been 
destined, first for a descent upon Canada and next for the 
defence of Nova Scotia, found sufficient employment at 
home, as a matter of course, in strengthening the defences 
of the coast, by repairing dilapidated forts and building 
new ones. Nor were they left to labor with unaugmented 

1 Hutchinson. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 201 

numbers. The militia spontaneously left their homes, chap. 
and their ripening harvests, seized their arms, and within w v _/ 
a few days, to the number of more than six thousand, 1746 - 
marched into Boston, while an additional six thousand 
more were promised from Connecticut in the event of an 
actual invasion. 1 

Governor Clinton had appointed the twentieth of July 
as the day for meeting the Six Nations in council at Alba- 
ny. He arrived there himself on the twenty-first ; but as 
the city was afflicted with small-pox, and also at the same 
time with a malignant bilious fever, his excellency, not 
having had the former disease, deferred his landing until 
the following day, — not making it then in the town but 
at the fort. Whether the governor's quarrel with De- 
Lancey, had or had not served to alienate from him any 
other members of the council, does not appear ; and the 
fact that the latter could prevail upon none of its members 
to accompany him to Albany, excepting Doctor Colden 
and Mr. Livingston, is left unexplained. Major Ruther- 
ford of the council being already at Albany in the dis- 
charge of his military duties, enabled the governor, though 
with the smallest number allowed by his majesty's com- 
mission, to form a council board for the transaction of 
business. 

The cause of DeLancey's quarrel with the governor, 
has been attributed to his own native arrogance ; to an 
overweening family pride, engendered by the elevation of 
his brother-in-law, Sir Peter Warren ; and also to his reli- 
ance upon the patronage of his former tutor, Doctor Har- 
ris, bishop of York, who was soon afterward elevated to 
the archbishopric of Canterbury. 1 On his arrival in the 
colony, Mr. Clinton had found the chief justice omnipo- 
tent with the assembly, and being himself fond of his 
ease, and caring more for the emoluments than for the 
glory of official station, the governor had to a great 

2 Smith, — who makes Doctor Harris at this time archbishop of Canterbury, 
which is not correct. Dr. H. was not advanced to the primacy until the 
following year, 1747. 

26 



202 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, extent yeilded the direction of the government to this 
•«_ Y _> ambitious minister. Every thing went smoothly enough 
1746. "between them, until after the governor in a moment of in- 
caution, had renewed DeLancy's commission as chief jus- 
tice, during good behavior, — or, in other words, for life. 
" He now began to dictate rather than to advise. Dining 
one day with Mr. Clinton, and insisting upon some favor- 
ite point with great imperiousness, the governor, who 
had so long suffered himself to be led, refused on this oc- 
casion to be driven. The chief justice then arose and left 
him ; declaring, with an oath, that he would make his ad- 
ministration uneasy for the future. His excellency replied 
he might do his worst. Thus they parted, nor were they 
ever afterward reconciled." 1 The governor's confidence 
was immediately transferred to Doctor Colden, in whom 
it was reposed to the end of his administration. 

But notwithstanding the preparations made in anticipa- 
tion of his arrival, the governor found no Indians at Alba- 
ny to meet him, save two straggling Onondagas, and one 
Oneida warrior; all three of whom had arrived on the 
same day with his excellency, from the north, bringing 
with them two French scalps which they had boldly taken 
at the very gate of Fort St. Frederick — Crown Point. On 
presenting these trophies to the governor, the leader of 
the party made a formal speech, as belligerent as could be 
desired, declaring that the murders committed by the 
French had been suffered to remain unavenged until his 

*See Letter to a Nobleman, being a review of the military operations 
in North America from 1753 to 1756, the authorship of which was attributed 
to Governor Livingston, of New Jersey, and his friends Messrs. Smith and 
Scott, lawyers, of New York. Smith has since been known as the historian 
of New York ; and the coincidences between portions of this letter and pas- 
sages of his history, are so numerous and striking, as to warrant the con- 
clusion that he must have shared in writing the former. The letter, which 
is long, may be found in the fourth volume of Mass. Hist, Collections. 

Still in forming an estimate of the character of Mr. DeLancey, as well as 
of other individuals mentioned in this letter, great allowance should be 
made for the intense political rancor which its authors cherished against the 
personages therein assailed. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 208 

heart could bear it no longer ; and lie had therefore him- chap. 
self determined to open for his brethren the path of re- ^—y— 
venge. The scalps had been taken at noon-day, within two 1/46 - 
hundred steps of the fort. The report of their guns 
startled the garrison, and a party of soldiers sallied forth 
in pursuit ; but having forgotten their arms in their haste, 
and being consequently obliged to run back after them, 
the Indians were enabled to make good their retreat. 
They were each rewarded with strouds and a laced hat, — 
the leader receiving in addition a line laced coat and a 
silver breast-plate. The governor at the chief warrior's 
suggestion favored him with a new name, signifying The- 
opener-of-the-jpath. Proud of his distinction, the warrior 
then informed his excellency that his two associates, to- 
gether with a River Indian, were going upon the war-path 
again ; and were it not that he supposed he could render 
better service in the council, he should go against the 
enemy with them. 1 No other Indians having arrived to 
meet the governor, and the reports from the interpreters 
who had been sent to the cantons of the Six Nations 
being exceedingly discouraging, the Path-opener, who 
proved to be a very faithful fellow, volunteered upon an 
embassy to bring the Indians to the council himself, not 
doubting that he should to a considerable extent be suc- 
cessful. 

For nearly a month the prospect of procuring a general 
attendance of the Indians, was discouraging. Within a 
day or two of the incident just recorded, another party of 
six or seven Indians, previously sent by the commissioners 
of Indian affairs to lurk about in the vicinity of Crown 
Point, returned without having met with any success, and 
with the loss of two of their number, made prisoners by 
the enemy. One of these, however, had been released 
through the interposition of the Caughnawagas in the ser- 
vice of the French. It was the impression of these spies 
that the enemy was strong at Fort St. Frederick, both in 

1 Minutes of the council board. 



204 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, regular troops and Indians. This unpleasant intelligence 
« — » — ' was confirmed very soon afterward by the return froin the 
7 6 * same region, of a party of sixteen Mohawks, who had 
been sent thither to reconnoitre the enemy's works by Mr. 
Johnson, — whose active agency in the Indian department 
was now about first to be brought into requisition. These 
Indians added the expression of their belief, from the ex- 
tent of the enemy's preparations at Crown Point, that an 
expedition was on foot against Schenectady and the white 
settlements farther up the Mohawk valley, and possibly 
against Albany itself. These reports were strengthened 
by letters from Mr. Johnson to the governor, and also by 
advices frOm the officer commanding the small English 
garrison kept in the Mohawk country. Mr. Clinton, how- 
ever, attached less importance to these reports than those 
did who communicated them ; believing them to have been 
sent abroad by the French to deter the Indians from gather- 
ing in the council at Albany. He thus wrote to Johnson ; 
endeavoring at the same time, by the offer of liberal re- 
wards, to persuade the last mentioned Indian party to re- 
turn to the neighborhood of Crown Point, but without suc- 
cess, — the Indians insisting that they must return to their 
homes, to inform their relatives and friends of what they 
had heard and seen. Mr. Johnson likewise thought there 
were serious grounds for alarm ; writing to the governor 
that the white settlers for twenty miles above him, and be- 
low to Schenectady, had deserted the country. Of his own 
property in jeopardy, he had eleven thousand bushels of 
wheat and other grain ; and he asked the favor of a small 
detachment of troops for his protection. A lieutenant and 
thirty men were immediately sent to him ; and a company 
of militia was likewise added to the upper Mohawk castle 
to assist the Indians in adding to the strength of that de- 
fence. 1 It will appear in the course of the present chapter 
that the apprehensions of an invasion from Fort St. Frede- 

1 Manuscript correspondence of Clinton and Johnson. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSOV, BART. 205 

rick, were not altogether idle, although it did not take ex- chap. 
actly the anticipated direction. ««, ^. . 

But the Six Nations came not to the council, and the 1746 - 
summer was wearing rapidly away ; while, to increase the 
embarrassment of Mr. Clinton, the proposition from Gov- 
ernor Shirley for an immediate expedition against Crown 
Point had been acceded to on the fourth of August, and the 
information of a change in Shirley's purpose, rendered im- 
perative by the threatened invasion of the seaboard by the 
French, had not been received at Albany. The prospect 
was indeed far from cheering in many respects. The storm 
of war lowered darkly in the northern horizon. A com- 
pany of rangers, belonging to Albany, enrolled for the ex- 
press purpose of traversing the frontier to watch the move- 
ments of the enemy, notwithstanding the danger that 
threatened their own fire-sides, refused to go again upon 
duty unless the governor would become personally responsi- 
ble for their pay, at the rate of three shillings each per 
diem, and also for their subsistence. Indignant at their 
conduct, and believing that men thus mercenary, when even 
their own family altars were in jeopardy, could not be safe- 
ly trusted, Mr. Clinton accepted the services, voluntarily 
tendered, of Captains Langdon and Tiebout, with their re- 
spective companies of new levies. A few of the reluctant 
Albanians were taken as guides for these generous volun- 
teers ; but whenever any signs of hostile Indians were dis- 
covered, the heroic guides were sure, either by discharging 
their guns, or by making other noises, to give the alarm 
and enable the foe to escape ; — thus avoiding the danger 
themselves, but at the same time defeating the purpose in 
view. The temper of the Six Nations, with a few individ- 
ual exceptions, was bad, and apparently growing worse. 1 
Notwithstanding the unwearied efforts of the English to 

1 Dunlop in quoting Colden, in regard to the discontents among the Six 
Nations at this time, says : " It was owing to the misconduct, of those who 
were entrusted by the government with the management of Indian affairs ; " 
adding: " The Indian agent was Mr. Johnson. " It was not so. Johnson's 
appointment to that agency took place afterward. 



206 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, counteract the influence of the Jesuit missionaries among 
w v — s them, yet those crafty ecclesiastics had obtained a hold upon 
1746. their affections, which it seemed all but impossible to break ; 
and fresh evidences were received by the governor, almost 
daily, disclosing the unwelcome fact that the Iroquois, if 
not again balancing which side of the contest to espouse, 
were more strongly than ever resolved upon maintaining 
an attitude of neutrality. The messengers dispatched to 
the Indian country, to persuade them to . attend the coun- 
cil, had met with very indifferent success. One of them 
had fallen sick by the way. Several of the influential chiefs 
had again been visiting Canada, and were in full commu- 
nication with the Caughnawagas of the St. Lawrence. 
These were active in preventing the convocation. The 
messengers had passed thirteen days among the Oneidas 
without making any perceptible impression ; and the Cay- 
ugas met the governor's invitation at first with a flat re- 
fusal. The Mohawks, living in the closest proximity to 
the English, were for a considerable time equally reluctant 
to join in the council, and several of the chiefs at the upper 
castle peremptorily refused ; nor in all candor can it be de- 
nied that their reasons at once attested their political sa- 
gacity and the soundness of their judgment. " It was, " 
they said, " a war between the Englsh and the French, in 
which the Indians had no interest. Those nations could 
at any time make peace ; but it was not so with the Indians. 
Once involved in the war, they could not make up the quar- 
rel among themselves, but must continue the contest until 
one or the other party was destroyed." These views were 
encouraged by the emissaries of the French, who, entertain- 
ing little expectation of being able to engage the Iroquois 
upon their own side, were content to urge them strongly to 
neutrality. " It is your interest, " artfully said the Jesuits, 
" not to suffer either the French or the English to be abso- 
lute masters, for in that case, your slavery to one or the 
other, will be inevitable. " Yet it was not doubted that 
some of the chiefs had been gained entirely to the French, 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 207 

and were even then ready to strike the heads of the Eng- chap. 
lish. -3^ 

It was in this critical exigency that Mr. Clinton determined 1746 - 
to avail himself, in the Indian department, of the services of 
Mr. Johnson, — services, for the discharge, of which he was 
already exceedingly well qualified from the intimate know- 
ledge he had acquired of their language, their character and 
customs, and also from the confidence they reposed in him, 
and his consequent extensive popularity among them. 
These qualifications of Mr. Johnson for that delicate 
branch of the public service were well known to Mr. Clin- 
ton ; and inasmuch as Colonel Schuyler, son of the cele- 
brated Quider, and head of the board of Indian com- 
missioners at Albany, had espoused the side of DeLancey 
in his opposition to the governor, while Johnson had 
manifested a disposition to sustain the latter, the road to 
preferment was already open. 1 Indeed there seems to have 
been a serious misunderstanding between the governor and 
the Indian commissioners several months before, the latter 
having written to his excellency on the seventeenth of 
the previous April, that " as their proceedings give so little 
satisfaction to him, they beg to be excused from any farther 
trouble." 2 Mr. Johnson, therefore, already a correspond- 
ent and a favorite of the governor, now succeeded Colo- 
nel Schuyler in the management of the Indians ; although 
the sincere affection of the latter for the family of their 
old friend Quider, continued long afterward. It is from 
this point, that the long official career of the young Irish 
adventurer, William Johnson, — a career equally brilliant 
and honorable, — takes its date. 

The commissioners having neglected to send messages 
to the ^Esopus and Minisink Indians — tribes inconsidera- 
ble and not very reliable, — and also to the clans dispersed 
along the upper Susquehanna and its tributaries, — on the 

> Smith. 

2 Manuscript letter preserved in the minutes of the council. 



208 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, fourth of August interpreters with suitable belts were dis- 
«^ v _- patched to those scatterred peoples. Meantime a change 
174G - favorable to the wishes of the English had been produced 
among the Senecas from an unexpected quarter. It hap- 
pened that while the messengers of the governor were 
among the Senecas, a party of twenty Chickasaws arrived 
at their castle, with a request " that the Senecas would 
show them the way into Canada." The Chickasaws had 
always been enemies to the French ; and an expedition of 
five hundred men sent against them from Canada, four 
years before, had been defeated in the Chickasaw country, 
almost to annihilation. These young envoys referred to 
the subject in a manner characteristic of the race. Ad- 
dressing the Senecas, they said: — "Four years ago the 
French had been so kind as to visit their country, and 
leave among them four hundred muskets. Those muskets 
however, by constant use, had been worn out ; and as their 
friends the French had not thought proper to bring them 
any more, the Chickasaws had determined to goto Canada 
and bring away some new ones." It was their desire 
that the Senecas would show them the way, and if they 
would promise to do so, the young men said they would 
return home and bring back about four hundred of their 
stout-hearted fellows to find the new guns and bring them 
away. Encouraged by this unlooked for alliance from 
the south, and also by assurances that other remote na- 
tions of the forest were in no good humor with the French, 
the Senecas, in considerable numbers, changed their 
minds, and determined to meet the governor in Albany. 
Mr. Johnson was at the same time exerting himself with 
the utmost activity to dispel the clouds resting upon the 
moody brows of the Mohawks, and to revive their obvious- 
ly waning friendship for the English. Familiar with their 
language and manners, he assumed their garb, and mingled 
among them as one of their own people. He entered 
readily into their athletic exercises, their games, and all 
the varieties of their pastimes, — prompted, it is likely, in 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 209 

part, by his love of the picturesque and of wild adventure, chap. 
and in part, it is but just to believe, by the sincere affec- -y-/ 
tion he had imbibed for the race. Flattered by his asso- 1746, 
ciation with them upon terms of such generous equality, — 
not for an instant dreaming that there could be ought of 
simulation in his conduct toward them, as perhaps there 
was not, — the Mohawks adopted him as a member of their 
nation, and invested him with the rank of a war-chief. 1 In 
this capacity he assembled them at festivals, and appointed 
frequent war-dances, by way of exciting them to engage 
actively in the war. His success, considering the sourness 
of their temper, and the spirit of uneasiness that had pre- 
vailed among them for so many months, was far greater 
than had been anticipated by the commissioners ; for he 
not only persuaded numbers of the war-chiefs and sachems 
to repair to Albany and hear what the governor had to say, 
but he likewise engaged many of their young warriors un- 
reservedly to join the army in the proposed campaign. 

Thus stood matters at the Mohawk castles when the in- 
terpreters from the more distant members of the Confede- 
racy arrived with such of the sachems and warriors of those 
nations as they had succeeded in bringing to attend the 
council. But here a new difficulty arose. A political feud 
had existed among the Confederates for a length of time, 
causing a division into two distinct parties, — the Mohawks, 
Onondagas and Senecas forming one division, and the 
Oneidas, Cayugas and Tuscaroras the other, — the last men- 
tioned being numerically the weaker. On the arrival of 
the warriors and counsellors of the latter, it appeared that 
they had by no means determined to espouse the cause of 
the English, and they censured the Mohawks for having 
committed themselves so far without the previous consent 
of the other Confederates. The Mohawks replied with 
warmth. They were less numerous than the other nations, 
it was true; but they declared that theip warriors were all 

1 In connection with this custom of adoption, see Appendix, No. 1, to this 
volume. 

27 



1746. 



210 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, men ; : and in the event of a trial of strength, the Mohawks 
.- might not be found in reality the weakest. Chafed at the 
rebuke of their fellows, they moreover now boldly avowed 
that their hearts were truly English ; and the contention at 
length became so sharp, that the opposing factions would 
not consent to move in company to Albany, — the Mohawks 
marching by themselves on one side of the river, while 
their opponents took the other. Both divisions entered 
Albany on the eighth of August, — the Mohawks in full 
panoply, at the head of whom marched their new war- 
captain, Johnson, upon whom they had conferred the name 
of War-ragh-i-ya-gey, signifying, it is believed, Superin- 
tendent of affairs 2 -r— dressed, painted and plumed as re- 
quired by the dignity of his rank. In passing Fort Frede- 
rick at Albany, salutes were exchanged, the Indians firing 
their muskets, and the fort its artillery. The chiefs and 
sachems were then received in the hall of the fortress, and 
served with refreshments. { 

All the Mohawk sachems but three, had been persuaded 
by Mr. Johnson heartily to engage in the cause. One of 
these dissentients was Aaron, of the Lower castle, who, with 
others, had made a visit in the preceding spring to the 
French governor in Canada. The two others were of the 
Canajoharie, or Upper castle. Both were sachems of influ- 
ence, one belonging to the Bear tribe, and the other to the 
Tortoise, — the latter being first in dignity. Great pains 
were taken at private interviews with these sachems, to 
bring them into the cause of the English. The task, though 
difficult, was ultimately accomplished through the instru- 
mentality of the Rev. Mr. Barclay, an English missionary 
residing among the Mohawks, and the exertions of Doctor 

i The Six Nations reckoned all other Indian nations women in compari- 
son with themselves. 

2 The signification of Johnson's Indian name is not known with certainty. 
Some authorities have given as its meaning — " one who unites two peoples 
together. " The interpretation however given in the text, reasoning from 
the analysis or the supposed analysis of thg word, appears to be nearer 
the truth. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 211 

Colden, who, during former visits to the Canajoharie castle, chap. 
had contracted an acquaintance with those reluctant sa- < — , — < 
chems. The doctor had indeed some twenty years before, 1746 
been adopted into their clan, and invested with a new name. 
Still, there were other difficulties to be adjusted, and it was 
not until the nineteenth day of August that a public coun- 
cil could be safely opened. Meantime Governor Clinton 
had been attacked by fever, and the duty of conducting the 
council devolved upon Dr. Colden. The commissioners in 
attendance from Massachusetts, were Colonel Wendell and 
Mr. Welles. Connecticut was not represented. 

The opening speech delivered by Mr. Colden, had been 
prepared to be spoken by the governor. After announcing, 
in the usual form, that the council had been called to con- 
firm the covenant chain, and all former treaties and engage- 
ments, it recapitulated the history of the war, referring to 
the cruelties of the enemy, and reminding the Indians of 
their stipulation the year before, that if satisfaction for those 
cruelties should not be promptly rendered, they would take 
up the hatchet and make immediate use of it. But the 
enemy, so far from having made the least reparation for 
their wrongs, had repeated their cruelties on the frontiers 
of New England, by the destruction and massacre of Sara- 
toga, and by barbarous murders in the very precincts of 
Albany. Yet, knowing these facts, the Six Nations had 
not fulfilled their promises, an immediate compliance with 
which was now necessary, if they would show that those 
promises came when made from the bottom of their hearts. 

The speech next announced the determination of " the 
king their father, " to effect the subjugation of Canada, 
and informed the Indians of the preparations making for 
that object. They were assured in the most confident 
terms, that forces sufficient for effecting the conquest at a 
blow, had been levied and were already in motion. Those 
from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and 
New York, destined to proceed to Montreal, they would 
soon see in Albany ; while the governor was in the hourly 



212 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, expectation of hearing of the arrival of the promised ships 
w^and troops from England ; — " a great army of experienced 
1746. goldiers, — who, with the New England levies, were to as- 
semble at Cape Breton ; — after which the attack upon Ca- 
nada would be made on all sides, both by sea and land." 1 

Yet, in order to complete the preparations for so great 
an enterprise, the Six Nations were required to join all their 
forces with the English, in doing which they would have a 
glorious opportunity of increasing their renown by aiding 
in the conquest of the Erench, — a perfidious people, who 
were even caressing the enemies of the Six Nations, de- 
siring nothing so much as to see their name obliterated. 

They were next reminded of the many injuries they 
themselves had received at the hands of the Erench, es- 
pecially by their repeated invasions of their territory, as 
at Onondaga, and the Seneca country. The mischiefs 
inflicted by them upon the Mohawks in their successive 
invasions were recounted ; the story of the massacre of 
their warriors at Cadaracqui, was rehearsed ; while the 
cruel burnings of some of their braves at Montreal, was 
not forgotten. Having thus kindled a spirit of vengeance in 
their bosoms, as could be read in the flashing eye, and the 
distended nostril, the ambition of the warriors was next art- 
fully excited by a recital of their own brave exploits when 
carrying their arms into Canada : — " If your fathers," said 
the speech, " could now rise out of their graves, how 
would their hearts leap for joy fo see this day, when so 
glorious an opportunity is put into your hands to revenge 
all the injuries your country has received from the French, 
and be never more exposed to their treachery and deceit." 
As the true sons of such renowned and brave ancestors, 
animated by the same spirit for their country's glory, and 
the same desire of revenge, they were invited to share in 

x So ignorant was the governor of the true state of things at the moment 
in New England, where all expectation of the grand combined attack had 
been relinquished ; Boston not more than two hundred miles distant, and yet 
the governor of New York was left in ignorance to make these fallacious 
promises to the Indians. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 213 

the honor of vanquishing the enemies alike of them- chap. 
selves and the English ; provisions, arms, clothing, being w v !_/ 
promised in abundance, and' ample protection for their 1746 * 
wives and children during their absence. They were far- 
ther reminded of several murders of their white brethren 
by the enemy's Indians, committed even since their arrival 
at the council-lire. These additional insults they were 
called upon to avenge ; and in conclusion a belt was given 
as an assurance of the intention of the English to live and 
die with their red brethren. 

The speech was well received. At the end of each sen- 
tence one of the chiefs called out — "yo-hay;" — "do you 
hear?" and the response of approbation was general. 
When, moreover, after its close, the war-belt was thrown 
down, the significant act was followed by a war-shout, 
unanimous and hearty. The council-fire was then raked 
up to give the forest counsellors time for deliberation. 
Three days afterward they announced that their answer 
was ready ; and on the following day, August twenty- 
fourth, the governor himself was able to meet them in 
council for its reception. 

The fire having been rekindled at the appointed time, 
an Onondaga sachem spoke to the following effect — the 
speech of course abounding in the figurative expressions 
inseparable from Indian eloquence and diplomacy. It 
opened by informing the council that the Missesagues 
had united with them for the purposes immediately in 
hand, as a seventh nation. The Six Nations were rejoiced 
that the English were wiping away their sorrowful tears, 
opening their throats, and washing clean the bloody bed. 
They also spoke of the silver covenant chain formed of 
old, which both were holding fast. They acknowledged 
having received the hatchet the year before, and their 
pledge to use it in the event of farther provocations and 
murders by the French ; — admitted that the bloody affair 
of Saratoga, and other acts of hostility, demanded the ful- 
filment of the pledge ; and they farther declared their 



214 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. readiness "from the bottom of their hearts," to use their 

v. 
w^—, hatchets against the French and their children, — the Ca- 

1746 - nada Indians meaning, — from that day forward. As an 
earnest of their sincerity in this declaration, the war-belt 
was thrown down with great emphasis both of attitude 
and expression. They assured the governor of the entire 
union of their clans in this declaration, and hoped the 
governors of the different English colonies would be as 
closely united in the prosecution of the war as themselves. 
In regard to the wiles of the French priests against which 
they had been admonished, they averred that their blood 
boiled at the manner in which they had formely been 
treated by them, and being now at war with their nation, 
those priests would no more dare to come. The Six Na- 
tions would have no further use for them than to roast 
them. As to the Missesagues, whom they now commended 
to the English as their allies, they numbered eight hundred 
warriors, all being determined to join in the common 
cause. 1 In conclusion the chiefs said they would leave 
some of their warriors with the troops of the governor, 
while they themselves returned to their castles to send 
down a greater number. 

With this speech closed the proceedings of that day, and 
the next was appointed for the delivery of the presents 
sent to them from the king, and also by the governors of 
Virginia and Massachusetts. "When on the twenty-fifth the 
presents were brought forth for delivery, the Albanians re- 
marked that they were much more valuable than any that 
had been previously given to the Indians. So, also, thought 
the recipients, a Mohawk chieftain, of his own volition, 
addressing his brethren thus : — " You see how you are here 
treated, — really like brethren. The governor of Canada 
treats not his Indians so, but sets them on like dogs, and 
they run without thought or consideration. You see what 
a noble present is made to you. If the governor of Ca- 
nada should sieze all the goods in that country, he could not 

iThe Missesagues then lived at Detroit, between Lakes Erie and Huron. 



LIFE OF SLR WILLIAM JOHNSON, EART. 215 

make such a present." 1 In the division of the presents chap. 
among the nations represented, two-eighths thereof were ^^~^ 
voluntarily assigned to the Missesagues. On the day fol- 174G - 
lowing, being the twenty-sixth, the war-kettle was put over 
the fire, and in the evening the solemn war-dance was per- 
formed, in presence of the governor and many other gen- 
tlemen. The warriors were all painted for the occasion, 
and the appropriate songs were sung with affecting pathos. 
Before the Indians dispersed, the governor had private 
conferences with the leading chiefs, and rendered the cov- 
enant chain yet brighter by making further presents. The 
two Missesagues present were particularly friendly. One 
of them assured his excellency that among the Indians yet 
farther than themselves in the interior, there was a grow- 
ing dislike to the French, reporting a transaction strongly 
corroborating his assertion. It was to the effect that a party 
of sixty Frenchmen had lately been sent to one of those 
distant nations to persuade them to take up the hatchet 
against the English. They accepted the hatchet, — and im- 
mediately put the whole part}' presenting it to death. In 
conclusion, the Missesagues promised on returning home 
to bring as many of those distant nations as they could 
upon the war-path. Unfortunately, however, both sickened 
of the small-pox and died, — one of them not being able to 
depart for the fair hunting grounds with resignation until 
the governor had promised to send his mother the first 
French scalp that should be taken. His companion at the 
council died on his way home, — the Six Nations at once 
providing for their wives and children, who had accom- 
panied them to Albany. 

x This account of the Indian negotiations of 1746, I have drawn from the 
copious details of Doctor Colden. Smith, the historian, intimates that the 
presents actually given by the governor, were small and unsatisfactory: 
and charges that Colden wrote a partial account for his patron's vindica- 
tion — his excellency having been accused of embezzling large portions of 
the presents. This imputation is unwarrantable. Colden's account was 
published in the course of a few weeks after the council closed, and, had 
it been untrue, and the Indian's speech a fiction, the dishonesty would have 
been exposed at the time. 



216 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



chap. The alliance, offensive and defensive with the Iroquois, 
Wy— < having thus been satisfactorily renewed, Mr. Clinton next 
1/46. turned his attention to the Muh-he-ka-neok, or River In- 
dians, — a small nation residing at Stockbridge, in the colo- 
ny of Massachusetts, — composed of remnants of the Mo- 
hegans, Narragansetts and Schaghticokes, together with 
various other smaller clans and tribes from Connecticut, 
who had been formed into a community some ten years be- 
fore by a philanthropic clergyman, — the Rev. Mr. Sergeant. 
With these remnants of various peoples who had been 
peeled and scattered in New England, a council was also 
holden, the result of which was satisfactory to all. They 
readily consented to engage in the war, concluding their 
speech, however, in words equivalent to a condition that 
they were not to be forgotten on the conclusion of a peace : 
" When you Christians, " said they, " are at war, you make 
peace with one another ; but it is not so with us. There- 
fore we depend upon you to take care of us ; in confidence 
of which we now take up the hatchet, and will make use 
of it. " * They were dismissed with presents. 

Lingering in Albany yet a full month longer, Mr. Clin- 
ton was enabled to receive in person the Indians from the 
Susquehanna country, whose principal town was at Oghqua- 
go. These Indians to the number of sixty warriors, ex- 
clusive of the usual train of old men, women and children, 
— never-failing attendants upon important councils, — ar- 
rived in charge of Captains Vrooman and Staats, about the 
tenth of September, and sent the governor on the next day. 
They had responded to the summons with alacrity, — com- 
plaining nevertheless at the lateness of their invitation, and 
regretting that the negotiations with the Six Nations should 
have been concluded before their arrival. Toward the Six 

1 Smith very improperly classes the River Indians — called by him after the 
Dutch orthography Mohickanders, — with the Esopus and Susquehanna In- 
dians, and denounces them as "dastardly tribes," to whom Governor Clin- 
ton " gave presents for promises which they never meant to perform. " 
Toward the Muk-kuk-kan-cok, their denunciation is most unjust. They 
were always true to the English, and poured out their blood freely for them. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 217 

Nations they appeared to entertain feelings bordering upon chap. 
jealousy. It was a shame, they said, that these Indians ^^—^ 
had not sooner used the hatchet placed in their hands a 1746 - 
year before. They had themselves sometimes been de- 
ceived as to the progress of the war, but they were now 
ready to join in the contest, — adding " We know several 
roads to Canada, and we want to see the hatchet that we 
may grasp it." "Whereupon the governor threw down a 
cutlass, which was eagerly seized by one of the chiefs, and 
they all commenced the war-dance, — declaring that " they 
should keep firmly hold of the hatchet, and were resolved 
to use it." A sudden alarm, caused by an incursion of the 
enemy's Indians, and the murder of a non-commissioned 
officer in the very suburbs of Albany, served to test both 
the fidelity and the courage of these Indians, by the alert- 
ness with which they spontaneously went in pursuit of the 
hostile party. Several of their number remained in Al- 
bany to act as scouts or guides, as occasion might require ; 
the residue being dismissed with presents — having promised 
the services of six hundred braves to the governor when- 
ever he should summon them to the field. The governor 
did not question the sincerity of their professions ; but 
wrote to Mr. Johnson the sixteenth of September, that 
" they looked as though they were determined to be hearty 
in our cause," and "he expected their warriors to join him 
in about ten days. " It is astonishing, nay, inexplicable, 
how completely Mr. Clinton and his counsellors were left 
in the dark, down even to the date of the letter just cited, 
as to the situation of affairs in New England. In this let- 
ter he tells Johnson that he talked to the Indians "in no 
other light than that of going immediately to fighting," 
and adds : " Five hundred troops from the Jersies, and four 
hundred from Philadelphia, have arrived here, besides seve- 
ral more companies from New York, which amount to over 
two thousand men. More are expected ; and as I hear 
that the fleet was seen orT the banks of Newfoundland, I 
conclude they are before now at Louisburg, — having sent, 



218 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, some time since, an express to Boston not yet returned, 
•— ^ — -and I think lie must be detained on that account." l The 
1746. governor also in the same letter informs Johnson that he 
has sent the fourteen Susquehanna warriors who had re- 
mained behind, against the enemy, attached to a company 
of sixty men under the command of Captain Staats, and 
from whom he hoped to hear a good account. 

The Canadian governor had not been an inattentive ob- 
server of Mr. Clinton's preparations for meeting the In 
dians. He had indeed adroitly attempted to prevent the 
gathering, by sending a number of Caughnawaga emissa- 
ries among them, with pacific overtures. 2 The Onondaga 
captain, taken, as already related, at Crown Point, in July ? 
was to accompany them, charged with a message from the 
governor to the effect, that although the warriors of the 
Six Nations had killed some of his people, yet he was wil- 
ling to overlook the past, and " as an evidence of his love 
for them, he had sent back one of their people instead of 
eating his flesh." At the same time the Caughnawagas 
were charged "not to spill any more blood from Albany 
upward, but to turn their arms toward their inveterate 
enemies in New England. "There," said the French go- 
vernor, " There is the place for you to gain honor now." 
But much to the surprise of the governor, the Caughnawa- 
gas declined the honor of the proposed mission, either as 
the bearers of intelligence, or menaces. " Such a course," 
they replied, " would only stir up the Six Nations, and 
bring them and all their allies to destroy you at once. 
They are not to be bullied by your words or arms ; where, 
fore, father, we must leave you to go through this work 
by yourself." These sudden scruples of his allies, but that 
the French governor was doubtless well acquainted with 
the unstable and impulsive character of the Indians, must 
well nigh have confounded him. But the Caughnawagas 
nevertheless dispatched one of their number in company 

1 Manuscript letter, Clinton to Johnson. 

2 Idem in reply to a letter from Johnson. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 219 

with the returning captain, as the bearer of a message, not chap. 
from the governor, but from themselves, to their former -w^_/ 
brethren, conjuring them by all their ancient ties of friend- 1746 - 
ship, not to embark in a war against them, and begging 
them to give information of any plottings of Governor 
Clinton against them. They invited the Six Nations to 
visit them in council again at their seat on the St. Lawrence 
in the spring ; and requested them to inform Governor Clin- 
ton that the French had eighteen hundred soldiers at Crown 
Point, ready for battle, but in which number were included 
eight castles of Ottawa Indians. It was on the return of 
the Mohawks from the council at Albany, that they were 
met by six of their own people as the bearers of this mes- 
sage, which they had received from the returning Onon- 
daga prisoners,-^-the Cauglmawaga messenger having ven- 
tured no farther than the confines of the Mohawk territory. 
But neither the message from their former brethren, nor 
the desires of the French governor, made the slightest im- 
pression upon the Six Nations, since they communicated 
both to their new war-captain, Johnson, without reserve or 
delay, — giving every desirable evidence of the good faith 
in which they had revived their English alliance. 

It was suggested by some contemporary writers, that in- 
asmuch as the governor of Canada asked only for the neu- 
trality of the Six Nations, the dictates of humanity required 
an acquiescence on the part of the English. But whoever 
has studied the character of this remarkable variety of the 
human family, — especially of the L-oquois, — must be aware 
how difficult, if not how utterly impossible, it would have 
been to keep them neutral. The Iroquois were the aborigin- 
als of all others, whose friendship and alliance was most 
strongly desired by both the principal belligerents, and whose 
possible hostility was anticipated with the greatest appre- 
hension by both. Their position, stretching from the west- 
ern shore of Lake Champlain to Lake Erie, placed them 
like a barrier between the French and English colonies, 
and enabled them to strike with sudden fury upon the bor- 



220 LIFE OF SIR "WILLIAM JOHNSON^ BART. 

chap, ders of either, as they might elect. The most formidable 
i-Y^in numbers, the most compactly disposed in their cantons, 
1746 - and the best governed of the savage race, — inured to war, 
and accustomed to conquest, — their name was a terror to 
the Indians from the country of the Natchez to the gulf of 
St. Lawrence. Their trade was war ; and although they 
had for a season evinced a strong reluctance to engage in 
the contest then raging, yet the French were continually 
tampering with them, and their clergy had for a long pe- 
riod exercised great influence over them. They were them- 
selves by no means ignorant of the importance of their po- 
sition, nor of the important fact, that, as between the 
French and English colonies, they held the balance of 
power. How desirous they might be of making the most 
of their position, the English could not tell ; nor had they 
any warrant, in the event of neglecting to secure their ser- 
vices beyond a peradventure themselves, that when the con- 
test should become fierce, and the Indians should scent 
blood upon the breeze, they might not, in a moment of 
impulse, throw off their neutrality and strike suddenly in 
behalf of the French. Hence it is maintained that the 
English were by no means bound passively to allow the 
French to secure the advantage of a neutrality on the part 
of the Iroquois, the maintenance of which would be so ex- 
tremely uncertain, and the benefits of which would enure 
solely to the party proposing and so strenuously urging it. 



CHAPTER VI. 
1T46. 

The governor of Canada was prompt in executing the chap. 
purpose suggested to the Caughnawagas, of striking upon •— v— ' 
the borders of New England, the people of which he had ' ' 
designated as their most inveterate foes. Indeed the In- 
dians in the French service had not waited for that sug- 
gestion, since from the opening of the spring, the whole 
New England frontier from the eastern border of New 
York, had been kept in a continuous state of alarm ; their 
hamlets were often in flames ; and their fields reddened 
with blood. 

The New Hampshire border being the most exposed, 
was full of danger at every point. On the thirteenth of 
April, the Indians appeared at a township called Number- 
Eour, 1 and took three men prisoners, and killed their cat- 
tle. Four days afterward a larger party of fifty attempted 
to surprise the fort at Upper Ashuelot, 2 hiding themselves 
in a swamp near by with the design of marching into the 
fort on the departure of the men to their field labors in the 
morning. But their ambuscade was discovered by a man 
who went forth very early in the morning, and their pur- 
pose frustrated. A skirmish took place in which a man 
and a woman were killed, and another man taken prisoner. 
On retreating, the Indians burned several houses and 
barns. Three days afterward a party of savages came to 
New Hopkinton, where was a block house guarded by 
several men. One of these going out very early to hunt, 
leaving his companions asleep, also left the door open, — a 

1 Since named Charlestown. 
»Keene. 



222 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, very convenient instance of carelessness, — for the lurking 
^— v — ' savages, who thereupon rushed in and made eight pri- 
1/46, soners — four men, one woman and three children. On the 
second of May, Number-Four was revisited, and a party 
of women milking some cows, guarded by several soldiers, 
were fired upon. One man was killed, and two of the 
Indians mortally wounded by the return fire. Two days 
afterward, Contoocook 1 was visited by the enemy, by 
whom two men were killed, and a third taken prisoner. 
The same hostile party made two prisoners two days after- 
ward at Lower Ashuelot, 2 but lost one of their number in 
another attempt upon the little fort at Upper Ashuelot. 
About the same time, a party of savages made an incur- 
sion into Bemardstown, in Massachusetts. They attacked 
a house garrisoned by only three men, but the duty of 
these was performed so effectively, that the enemy 
retreated with two of their warriors mortally wounded. 
On their way through Coleraine they ambuscaded a road 
near one of the forts, and fired upon a party consisting 
of a man, his wife and daughter, and two soldiers. The 
first was killed ; and the woman and her daughter wound- 
ed. But on losing one of their number by the fire of the 
soldiers, the enemy made off? On the twenty-fourth of 
May, a company of troops sent for the defence of the in- 
habitants, was drawn into an ambuscade in Number-Four, 
and in a smart skirmish which ensued five men were 
killed on each side — the Indians gaining the advantage of 
making a prisoner. A month afterward another spirited 
affair occurred at the same place. In this instance the 
dogs were the most vigilant sentinels, but for whom, Cap- 
tains Stevens and Baker would probably have been drawn 
into a fatal ambuscade. The Indians having been disco- 
vered, the provincial detachment had the advantage of the 
first fire. After a brisk encounter, the Indians were driven 

1 Boscawen. 

2 Swansey. 

3 Hoyt's Antiquities. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 223 

away — leaving evidences of considerable loss. Only one chap. 
of the provincials was killed, but there were five wound- ^_ v ^_, 
ed. The bodies of several Indians were afterwards dis- * re- 
covered, concealed in a swamp. Guns, hatchets, spears, 
and other warlike articles, were left b}^ the Indians, the 
sale of w T hich produced to the victors between seventy and 
eighty pounds. 1 On the twenty-fourth of June, two men 
were killed, and two taken prisoners at Fort Dummer. 
One of the prisoners killed an Indian before he was taken. 
Three days afterward a party of laborers were attacked 
in a field in Rochester, only twenty miles from Ports, 
mouth. The men were unarmed. Four of them were 
killed, and the fifth, wounded, was made prisoner. He 
was taken into Canada, as the other prisoners had been, 
being carefully attended to on the way until his wounds 
were healed. A lad was likewise made prisoner in anoth- 
er part of the town — the men with whom he was at work, 
making their escape. Yet another man was killed in 
Rochester soon afterward. On the third of July, an am- 
buscade was discovered in Hinsdale, but the Indians were 
put to flight. One month afterward, they again revisited 
Number-Four, and killed two men and several cattle. 
Two men were surprised and taken on the sixth of Au- 
gust, at Contoocook ; and a large party visited Penacook, 2 
and formed an ambuscade for the purpose of attacking a 
congregation while at worship in their church. But ob- 
serving that the men were well armed with carnal weap- 
ons, they delayed an attack until the next morning, when 
five men were killed, and two taken prisoners. 3 Murders 
were also committed again in the neighborhood of Fort 
Dummer ; at Hinsdale ; in Winchester, Poquaig, 4 Green- 
field ; at Penacook, and in several other places. At Pen- 

1 Manuscript journal of Deacon Noah Webster. 
'Concord. 

3 Belknap is the authority for several of these accounts of the border 
skirmishes of 1746. See also Hoyt's Antiquities. 

4 Afterward called Athol. 



224 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, acook five persons were killed. 1 These hostile parties 

w^ chiefly came from the St. Francis country, through Lake 

1/4G. Memphremagog. The prisoners taken were carried 

into Canada, where some of them died, but the greater 

number were subsequently redeemed or exchanged. 

But in addition to these partizan operations, painful to 
neighborhoods, yet more irritating than important in their 
influence upon the war, there was one of a more formida- 
ble character. It has already been seen that the French 
were concentrating a strong force at Crown Point ; and it 
happened that at the very time when Governor Clinton 
was opening his conferences with the Six Nations, — a 
combined force of French and Indians was within so short 
a distance of Albany, that had the officers and citizens 
there assembled been aware of the fact, they would most 
likely have felt rather uneasy in their seats. On the 
breaking out of the war, the New England colonies had 
erected a chain of small works — stockades and block 
houses — along the frontiers of Maine and New Hamp- 
shire, from Saco to Charlestown, — thence down the Con- 
necticut river to Greenfield. The old defences at the 
place last mentioned, and at Northfield, were repaired ; 
and another cordon of similar works was extended from 
the Connecticut across the Hoosic mountain, to the terri- 
tory now forming the towns of Adams and Williamstown ; 
thence south through Pittsfield, Stockbridge and Sheffield, 
at each of which points stockades were erected, and also 
at Blanford, for the purpose of guarding the principal road 
from the east to Kinderhook and Albany. The general 
command of this territory, belonged to Colonel John 
Stoddart, of the Hampshire militia regiment ; but the 
immediate command of the posts west of Hoosic mountain, 
was confided to Captain Ephraim Williams, whose head- 
quarters were in a work of considerable strength, called 
Fort Massachusetts, upon the Hoosic river, within the 
bounds of what is now the town of Adams. Small but 

1 Hoyt's Antiquities. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 225 

active scouting parties were kept ranging from post to chap. 
post ; and such was their vigilance that the Massachusetts - — , — > 
border suffered but little during the years 1744 and 1745, 1746 - 
save by the two successive incursions of the enemy upon 
the Great Meadow settlement above Fort Bummer ; in 
both of which a few persons were killed, and a few others 
carried into captivity. Irritated, however, by the loss of 
Louisburg, the French, with tjieir dusky allies, became 
more active, as well as more savage, along the whole bor- 
der, as the reader has seen in the rapid account just given 
of their incursions. 

But the largest demonstration of the enemy that season, 
was the descent of Rigaud de Vaudreuil from Crown 
Point, upon the post already described as Fort Massachu- 
setts, which was invested by that officer about the middle 
of August, with a force of regular troops and Indians 
numbering nine hundred and sixty-five men. This was 
the extreme northwestern post belonging to the colony, 
whose name it bore, and was commanded, as heretofore 
stated, by Captain Ephraim Williams. This excellent offi- 
cer, however, with the greater part of the force under his 
immediate command, was at Albany at the time of the 
invasion, having been ordered to join the proposed expe- 
dition so long in preparation for the conquest of Canada. 
Meantime the fort was left in charge of John Hawks, a 
soldier of approved courage and discretion, but whose 
rank was no higher than a sergeant. But higher honors 
were in reserve for him as the progress of history will dis- 
close. The number of men in the garrison, was no more 
than thirty-five, eleven of whom were sick. This small force 
moreover was yet farther weakened before it was known that 
an enemy had arrived to besiege it, by detaching Boctor 
Thomas Williams, the surgeon, and thirteen men, with 
directions to make the best of their way through the wil- 
derness to Beerfield on the Connecticut river, for ammuni- 
tion and other supplies. By this reduction, the sergeant- 
commander was left with but eleven effective men ; and 

29 



226 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, when the great disparity of the respective forces is consi. 
v— v — - dered, to say nothing of other untoward circumstances, the 
1746. defence he made of the post may be regarded as one of 
the most gallant affairs, of no greater magnitude, upon 
record. The enemy showed himself before the slender 
works on the nineteenth of August, — the very day on 
which Mr. Clinton opened his conferences with the Indi- 
ans at Albany. The fort was most unfavorably situated 
for defence, its site having been designated by some one 
who must have been lamentably deficient in the science 
of war, since it stood in a low long meadow, commanded 
by heights in every direction. But although short of 
ammunition himself, Hawks was aware that the enemy 
had no artillery, and he determined to defend the post as 
long as he possibly could, in the expectation that the 
advance of so large a body of the enemy must be known 
very soon at Albany, and the possible hope that a compe- 
tent force might be detailed from the main army to his 
relief. But the movement of M. de. Vaudreuil had been 
executed with such profound secrecy, that nothing of it 
was known at Albany. 

The enemy commenced his attack at about nine o'clock 
in the morning, and continued it briskly until the same 
hour in the evening — approaching at times, within the range 
of small shot. The lire was returned with vigor and effect 
from the fort, until about one o'clock past meridian, when 
the sergeant discovered that his ammunition was so near 
exhaustion as to require an order that no man should fire 
save when a fair opportunity was presented of doing exe- 
cution. Such an order was disheartening ; but it was 
obeyed with advantage as was soon perceptible from the 
deliberation of every subsequent shot, and the obvious fre- 
quency with which they told. The men were sharp-shoot- 
ers, and by singling out their objects among their assailants, 
many were brought down even at long shots, — some of 
them falling while standing, as they supposed, in perfect 
security. Two soldiers of the garrison only were wounded 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 227 



on that day. The fort was entirely surrounded during the chap. 
night following, — the night itself being rendered hideous ^-^ 
by the dismal howlings, and the warlike songs and revel- 1746 - 
ries of the Indians. With the return of lis-ht the attack 
was renewed, and in the course of the forenoon, one of the 
brave fellows in the fort was killed. At twelve o'clock me- 
ridian, the assailants ceased firing, and an Indian Was sent 
forward with a flag to request a parley. The invitation 
was acceded to, and the sergeant, accompanied by two or 
three of his comrades, repaired to the head quarters of the 
French commander, who offered honorable terms of capitu- 
lation. Hawks returned with the proposal to the fort, and 
convoked his little army as a council of war. Prayer for 
wisdom and direction from above was offered by Mr. Nor- 
ton, their chaplain, whereupon in view of their exhausted 
magazine, and the fact that their number was reduced to 
eight effective men, it was resolved to accept the proffered 
terms and surrender. By those terms they were to be re- 
ceived as prisoners of w T ar, and to be treated with humani- 
ty until ransomed or exchanged, — terms, moreover, which 
the French commander would not probably have granted, 
had he known either the weakness of the fort, or of the 
force defending it. There was also a farther stipulation 
that the prisoners should not be delivered into the hands of 
the Indians. The enemy took immediate possession of the 
fort and ran up their colors ; but they nevertheless seemed 
in equal haste to depart, and actually set the works on fire 
before they had plundered the cellar of its stores. 

The articles of capitulation were not strictly observed by 
M. Vaudreuil, and several of the prisoners were allotted 
to the savages, by whom one of them was killed. The 
others were all kindly treated, both by the French and their 
uncivilized allies. There were in the fort two women and 
several children, — to the number of the latter one being 
added on the second day of the march. But mother and 
child were kindly borne along by the Indians, and the little 
stranger brought thus rudely into the world, was baptized 



228 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON^ BART. 

chap, by thd chaplain. The prisoners were taken to Crown 
wy— . i Point, and thence to Canada, — the gallant sergeant being 
1746. e very where treated by the French officers as brave men 
should ever treat the brave. Arriving successively at Cham- 
blee, Montreal and Quebec, they met with numbers of their 
countrymen in captivity ; but they were themselves, for 
the most part, ultimately redeemed or exchanged, and en- 
abled to return to their own homes. Sergeant Hawks with 
several of his companions, was shipped from Quebec to 
Boston. The number of the enemy killed or badly wound- 
ed during the siege, was forty-seven. After the capitula- 
tion, it was ascertained that the besiegers were lying in am- 
buscade in the neighborhood of the fort, watching for an 
opportunity to take it by surprise, at the time of Doctor 
"Williams's departure in quest of supplies on the Connecti- 
cut river. They had probably no idea that the doctor's 
small party of thirteen had constituted more than one-third 
of the garrison ; and they allowed the little platoon to pass 
without molestation, in order to prevent an alarm that 
Would have discovered their presence and object. 1 

Remarkable was the conduct of the Indians in this affair 
toward the prisoners. It is a single bright spot of relief in 
the generally dark and bloody picture of savage warfare. 
But there was an episode to the siege and capture of the 
fort, of a deeply tragic character. Vaudreuil's Indians, 
numbering about fifty, crossed the Hoosic mountain, with 
the design of falling upon Deerfield. Having reconnoitred 
the village, however, an open attack was judged to be im- 
prudent. They accordingly withdrew two miles south, and 
formed an ambuscade upon the margin of a meadow of 
newly-moWn hay, for the purpose of rushing upon the hay- 
makers when they should come out to their work. Their 
object was rather to make captives than to kill ; and but 

1 My authority for the facts given in the present account of the chivalrous 
defence of Fort Massachusetts, is the unassuming manuscript journal of 
Sergeant Hawks himself, for which I am indebted to Dr. S. W. Williams, of 
Deerfield, grandson of Surgeon Williams mentioned in the test. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 229 

for an accident, that object would probably have been ac- chap. 
complished by the seizure of the laborers of two families, >-^__/ 
with several children, numbering in all ten persons, who 1746 - 
came to the meadow in the morning as the savages had an- 
ticipated. Alarmed by the discharge of a gun aimed at a 
partridge by a fowler who happened to be shooting at no 
great distance from the place of their concealment, the In- 
dians started up, and first killing the fowler, rushed down 
upon the laborers in the meadow. Those of the latter who 
were men, being armed, made a resolute stand for their 
own lives, and the defence of the children. A struggle, 
vigorous and fierce, ensued ; but the disparity of force 
was great, and three of the men were killed and scalped. 
A daughter of one of the slain was likewise severely 
wounded by a blow from a tomahawk, and left upon the 
field as dead ; — but she recovered, and lived to an advanced 
age. One of the lads fell into the hands of the Indians and 
was carried away, — the residue of the party making good 
their escape. l 

Meantime the summer had passed away, and with it the 
best season for active operations against Crown Point and 
the French. General Gooch, who had been commissioned 
by the crown for the special service of conducting the ex- 
pedition, had declined the appointment; and the chief 
command of the forces at Albany, had thus far devolved 
upon Governor Clinton. 2 With great pains and labor, the 
Iroquois Confederacy had finally been prevailed upon to 
take an efficient part in the contest, but there was not yet 
an immediate demand for their services in a body ; although 
at this late day it seems strange that large numbers of them 
were not employed in connection with the rangers who had 

1 Hoyt's Antiquities. 

'Major General Sir William Gooch was lieutenant-governor and governor 
of Virginia from 1727 to 1749. " He sustained an excellent character, and 
was popular in his administration." He had superior military talents, and 
commanded a division of the forces in the unsuccessful attack on Cartha- 
gena in 1740. 



230 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, been sent out from Albany to scour the forests, and watch 
^— v — > the motions of the enemy at the north. It certainly argues 
1746 g rea £ negligence, somewhere, that so large a force as that 
led against Fort Massachusetts by M. Vaudreuil, could 
have made such a movement, approaching as it did within 
forty miles of Albany, without the fact being known at 
headquarters until after the invaders had retired. Yet it 
appears to have been so. Equally in the dark, moreover, 
was Mr. Clinton in regard to the state of affairs in New 
England ; and on the sixteenth of September, timely ad- 
vices not having been received from Shirley and Warren, 
the governor, with his council, came to the reluctant de- 
cision that the season for active military operations was so 
far advanced as to render an expedition, even against Crown 
Point, impracticable, and that nothing more could then be 
done than to make the necessary dispositions for the se- 
curity of the frontiers. 1 Four days afterward letters were 
received both from Governor Shirley and the admiral, the 
former announcing that he had appointed General Waldo, 
of Massachusetts, to the command of the northern expe- 
dition, in the place of General Gooch. 2 But it was now 
too late ; and the high hopes of the people were dashed 
with bitter disappointment. The parent government had 
entirely failed in every engagement. Neither a fleet of 
adequate force, nor the promised troops under Sir John 
Sinclair, had appeared ; while the threatened invasion of 
the New England coast by France, had placed those colonies 
entirely on the defensive, and it now only remained for 
New York, instead of attempting a descent upon Crown 
Point, to prepare winter quarters for her own levies, and 
to adopt such measures as would afford the best security to 
her frontiers. 

To this end Mr. Johnson was directed, on his return to 
the Mohawk castle, to organize war parties of the Indians, 
and send them to harrass the French settlements in Canada. 

1 Manuscript proceedings of the counoil board. 

2 Manuscript journals of the council board. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 231 

But his first efforts were discouraging. Many of the In- chap. 
dians had contracted the small-pox at Albany, and a con-^-/ 
siderable number of their finest young men had died of 174G - 
the pestilence, either while journeying homeward, or after 
reaching their castles. It was during their affliction from 
this at that period appalling disease, that Mr. J ohnson was 
pressing them to go against the enemy ; and his urgency, on 
one occasion, drew a rebuke from a sachem of the Canajo- 
harie clan, that was full of feeling : — " You seem to think 
that we are brutes," said the first chief; " and that we have 
no sense of the loss of our dearest relations, and some of 
the bravest men we had in our nation. You must allow ut> 
time to bewail our misfortune." 

Nevertheless, early in October, a party of seventy war- 
riors, composed of some from each of the cantons, was 
made up for the purpose of harrassing the Canadian border. 
Several Englishmen accompanied this party, as well to as- 
sist, as to be witnesses of their conduct, under the lead of 
a son of Captain Butler, of the royal forces. But they had 
not been out many days before Mr. Butler fell sick of the 
small-pox, and five of the Indians were obliged to return 
to carry him back. The residue continued their course, 
being instructed to avoid the paths and water-courses 
usually traveled between the English and French colonies, 
and to thread the woods and cross the mountains in such 
manner as, if possible, to escape observation. Another small 
party was sent forth to hover about the precincts of Crown 
Point for the purpose of gaining intelligence, and render- 
ing such other service as chance and opportunity might re- 
quire. After the return of Mr. Butler the first party found 
it expedient to divide, — thirty of the Indians, with ten white 
men, taking one direction, and the residue striking off in 
another. The first division fell upon a French settlement 
on the north side of the St. Lawrence, ten leagues above 
Montreal; killed and scalped four people, and brought 
away ten prisoners, one of whom was a captain of militia. 



232 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Another party of nine Indians entered Canada still nearer 
v— Y — < to Montreal, and mingled with the Caughnawagas, under 
1746, the guise of friendship. Their dissimulation was carried 
still farther, for they allowed themselves to be taken to 
Montreal, where they had an interview with the governor, 
and by whom they were dismissed with presents. So well 
did they play their part that they were entrusted with of- 
ficial dispatches to the commanding officer at Crown Point, 
and were also charged with letters from officers to their 
friends at that post. These communications were all de- 
livered to the commanding officer at Albany on their re- 
turn. They moreover had the good fortune on their way 
back to surprise a small French defence, in which they 
killed five men, bringing away one prisoner and one scalp. l 
But notwithstanding the mortifying failure of all the 
plans of the year for such a vigorous prosecution of the 
w T ar as it was supposed must result in the subjugation of 
Canada, the immense preparations of the French for the 
reconquest of Cape Breton, and possibly the invasion of 
New England, were equally abortive, and her high hopes 
were likewise overthrown. The grand armament destined 
upon this service has been described in a former part of 
the present chapter. Its misfortunes were truly remarka- 
ble. Indeed before the summer was entirely gone, such 
accounts were received in Boston of its distresses, as very 
materially to lessen their apprehensions of an invasion, even 
if the promised augmentation of Admiral Townsend's na- 
val force at Cape Breton should not be realized. The num- 
ber of vessels in the French armament has already been 
stated. Comprised in that number were eleven ships of 
the line, thirty smaller vessels carrying from ten to thirty 
guns each, with transport ships conveying land forces to 
the number of three thousand one hundred and thirty men. 
To this force a squadron of four ships, under Admiral 
Conflours from the West Indies, was to be added, — 
D'Anville, the commander of the whole, being a nobleman 

1 Colden's account of the treaty at Albany. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 233 

of high qualities and courage, in whose conduct the ut- c hap. 
most confidence was placed. On arriving in Nova Scotia, > — , — - 
the land forces were to have been joined by seventeen hun- 
dred Canadians and Indians, who were already in arms, 
awaiting their debarkation. The main squadron of the 
French, fitted at Rochelle, was ready for sea in the begin- 
ning of May, but was prevented by contrary winds from 
getting out, until the twenty-second of June. This delay 
seems to have been ominous of the train of adverse cir- 
cumstances which followed. A series of disasters retarded 
the progress of the fleet, and weakened its power. The 
Count did not pass the Western Islands until the fourth of 
August. On the twenty-fourth, yet distant three hundred 
leagues from Nova Scotia, one of the ships proving un- 
seaworthy, was burnt. In a storm on the first of Septem- 
ber, two ships, one of seventy-four, and the other of sixty- 
four guns, were so much damaged in their masts, that they 
were obliged to bear away for the "West Indies ; and on the 
fifteenth, the Ardent, also of sixty-four guns, found it neces- 
sary to put back to Brest, in consequence of a pestilential 
fever, which broke out among the crew. D'Anville arrived 
at Chebucto on the twelfth of September, w T ith but two 
ships of the line, and only three or four of the transports. 
One ship only had arrived before him ; and after waiting 
three days, finding himself joined by only three more of 
the transports, — and having heard by an intercepted dis- 
patch from Shirley, that the English fleet had arrived on 
the coast in pursuit of him, although Shirley's information 
was incorrect, — the admiral died suddenly, — by apoplexy, 
according to the French accounts, and by poison, self- 
administered, according to the English. Monsieur de la 
Jonquiere, Governor General of Canada, an officer of age 
and experience, was on board of D'Anville's ship, the 
Northumberland ; and having been created a chef d'escadre 
previous to the sailing of the fleet, by the death of the 
admiral, he succeeded to the command. Two days after- 

30 



234 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, ward the vice admiral D'Estournelle, came up with three 

vi. . 

w^-/ or four more of the missing ships, and a council of war 

1746. was thereupon called to determine what next should be 
done. Considering the extent to which their forces had 
been weakened by such a succession of calamities, equally 
unlooked for and severe, the absence of many of the regu- 
lar troops who were on board the missing and disabled ves- 
sels, and the sickness of many more among whom the fever 
was raging with violence, the vice-admiral proposed return- 
ing to France. Being strenuously opposed, however, in 
this suggestion by Jonquiere, and overruled by the council, 
D'Estournelle fell upon his own sword and died. Jonquiere 
thought himself yet in a condition to conquer Annapolis- 
Royal and recover Nova Scotia, and made his dispositions 
for that object. Most of the sick having died at Chebucto, 
the fleet sailed thence with the residue on the thirteenth of 
October ; but a violent storm was encountered two days 
afterward, when off Cape Sable, which continued several 
days and separated the fleet, — two ships only, one of fifty, 
and the other of thirty-six guns, remaining in company. 
These, on approaching Annapolis-Royal, discovered the 
Chester man of war, the Shirley frigate, and a smaller 
British vessel, under sail, — whereupon they retired under 
a press of canvass, to return no more. 

Such was the disastrous termination of that memorable 
expedition from which so much had been expected by 
prance. x "Never had so great an armament been dispatched 
from Europe to North America ; and never had any proved 
more inefficient." 2 The people of New England accustomed 
to see the hand of Providence in every event of human 
life, viewed their deliverance as a signal and direct inter- 
position of the deity in their behalf, — by pestilence and 
storm. "Never was a disappointment more severe on the 
part of the enemy ; nor a deliverance more complete, with- 

1 Hutchinson. 

2 Grahame. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 235 

out human help, in favor of this country." l Not a single chap. 
honest effort had been put forth by the ministers for their v— v — - 
defence beyond the sending of Admiral Town send with 1<<46 ' 
reinforcements for the squadron of Commodore Knowles 
at Louisburg ; " and these two commanders," says Grahame, 
" doubtless in conformity with orders which they had re- 
ceived, contented themselves with guarding that harbor 
from attack, without making the slightest demonstration 
in support of New England." 

Governor Clinton returned to New York early in Octo- 
ber, meeting his council in that city on the fourteenth of 
the same month. Before leaving Albany he had made 
arrangements for a winter camp at that place, and adopted 
measures which it was supposed would be adequate to the 
protection of the frontiers. His detention at the north for 
nearly three months had been unexpected, and his exertions 
had been arduous and patriotic. The critical state in which 
he found the Indian affairs, required the exercise of all the 
prudence and attention in his power to bestow ; and in their 
management he had derived but little assistance from the 
Board of Indian commissioners. Great dissatisfaction had 
prevailed respecting the conduct of this board ; and know- 
ing that the governor's confidence had been withdrawn 
from them, several members of the commission refused to 
attend the council, frankly confessing that they had lost all 
influence over the Indians. 2 

It was in this posture of that important branch of the 
public affairs, that the influence and services of Mr. John- 
son were invoked ; and the management of that depart- 
ment thenceforward devolved chiefly upon him. 

In addition to all his other duties, the governor had been 
likewise compelled by the refusal of Gen. Gooch to serve 
in the campaign, to assume all the cares and responsibili- 
ties of military commander-in-chief; and the cares and 

1 Belknap. 

* Manuscript journals of the council board. 



236 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, responsibilities, after the arrival of the colonial troops 
v-v_/ from !New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, irrespective 
1746. f -j-^Q i nc ]i an administration, were by no means light. 
Environed by difficulties, and limited in his means, contem- 
porary historians have not awarded him that meed of jus- 
tice to which he was unquestionably entitled for the zeal 
with which he labored to discharge his public duties. 

The general assembly met on the seventeenth of October ; 
and the governor, being indisposed, instead of opening the 
session in person, sent for the speaker, and through him 
transmitted a copy of the speech he had intended to deliver 
to the house, — a procedure which that body, acting under 
the influence of De Lancey, and not coming together in 
the best possible humor, voted to be not only unprece- 
dented, but irregular. De Lancey, it will be remembered, 
on his rupture with the governor, had sworn that he would 
thenceforward render his excellency's administration un- 
comfortable ; and he made good his oath. " His uncommon 
vivacity and ease, his adroitness at a jest, and his conde- 
scension to his inferiors, wonderfully facilitated his pur- 
poses ;" and it took him not long to infuse such a spirit of 
factious opposition to the governor that the assembly 
paused not at measures to embarrass him of the most inde- 
fensible character. Still the assembly proceeded to the 
consideration of the public business. The speech opened 
by rehearsing the history of the governor's mission to Al- 
bany, — the difficulties that had attended, and the measure 
of success which had crowned it. Owing to misconduct 
on the part of the commissioners, the Indians, who had 
been tampered with by the French, had well nigh gone over 
to them ; but the governor said he had fortunately secured 
their alliance, and it remained only by judicious measures 
to retain their friendship. The events of the summer, as 
connected with the prosecution of the war, — feeble enough 
in every respect, — were spoken of; and a call was made 
for increased appropriations for the Indian service, for the 
construction of additional defences on the frontiers, and 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOIINSOX, BART. 237 

especially for the maintenance of a winter encampment in chap. 
the neighborhood of Albany, for the shelter of the troops w ¥ J_/ 
destined against Canada, whenever the time for a decisive 1746> 
movement should arrive. In conclusion the speech ex- 
horted the assembly to union and harmony, interposing a 
caution against the dangers consequent upon encroach- 
ments by either branch of the government upon the consti- 
tutional privileges of the others. 

The speech was a very fair one, and nothing appears 
upon its face dictated otherwise than by a very proper spirit. 
Yet such was the temper of the assembly that the speech 
was like the dropping of a spark into a magazine. The 
house was instantly inflamed. His excellency's " persua- 
sions to harmony excited only to discord ;" and in the con- 
cluding admonitions against encroachments upon the pre- 
rogatives of other branches of the government, — the pre- 
rogatives of the crown meaning, — the assembly discovered, 
or affected to discover, a degree of distrust which incensed 
them exceedingly. They voted, however, the sum of six 
thousand five hundred pounds for the subsistence of the 
winter encampment at Albany ; but provided for the trans- 
portation of supplies to that city, and no farther, — refusing, 
in effect, the means for conveying those supplies to the 
several posts at which they were needed. Farther provision 
for*the subsistence of certain detachments of militia which 
had been ordered to Albany in May and June, was likewise 
refused. The governor promptly sent in a message rebuk- 
ing the legislature for its parsimony, and insisting that 
when at the preceding session they had voted to provision 
the forces of the province destined against Canada, they 
had as a consequence pledged themselves to bear all the 
charges incident thereto. He told them with military truth 
" that the provisions for an army are so necessary a part of 
all warlike enterprises, that any defeat or obstruction in 
the daily supply of them, might defeat the best concerted 
measures ; and that if the provisions of an army are not 
subject to the orders of the commanding officer, it would 



238 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, be in the power of those charged with furnishing the sup- 
x— y-— plies, to frustrate any enterprise." His excellency there- 
1746. f ore required a grant for transporting supplies along with 
the forces, to whatever parts they might be ordered. The 
assembly was also informed that there were thirteen hun- 
dred and sixty men at Albany, to whom but a portion of 
their promised enlistment bounty had been paid ; and the 
necessity of making up the deficiency was urged in suitable 
terms, for the prevention of irregularities and desertions. 

This message was referred, nemine contradicente, to a com- 
mitte consisting of Colonels Phillipse, Morris and Schuy- 
ler, with instructions to prepare an humble representation 
in reply, — the house meantime voting, in addition to the 
ordinary civil list, only the deficient bounty money. But 
before the committee had prepared its report, information 
was received from the commissioners having in charge the 
purchasing of provisions for the forces, that Henry Hol- 
land, late high sheriff' of Albany, by order of Colonel 
Roberts, 1 had broken open the store-houses in that city, 
and taken thence a large quantity of provisions in their 
custody for the public service. 

The address reported by the committee, was an answer 
both to the special message, and to the opening speech of 
the session. The temper of this document was such as 
might well try that of the governor. In regard to the 
Indian service, the committee affected ignorance either of 
a bad disposition on the part of the Indians, or the causes 
of such disposition if it existed. They said they had 
voted liberal supplies for this department, and for the cus- 
tomary presents to that people, adding significantly, "in 
what manner that service has been performed, your excel- 
lency, and those whom you have thought proper to employ, 

x An officer of one of the independent companies, now raised by Mr- 
Clinton to the rank of colonel in the intended expedition. He had been a 
cornet of horse at the accession of George I., and was connected, by his 
first marriage, with the earl of Halifax. His second wife was the daugh- 
ter of that Mr. Harrison who had so deep a share in the fueds of Cosby 
and Van Dam. — Smith. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 239 

can certainly best determine." In respect to the alleged chap. 
mismanagement of the Indian department, the address « — „ — - 
avowed the readiness of the assembly to enter upon a full 1746 
investigation, whenever the governor should communicate 
to them all the papers and documents connected with that 
branch of the public service since the commencement of 
his excellency's administration, — until which time no 
larger sum than usual would be voted for that department, 
lest there should be farther misconduct. The winter encamp- 
ment was disapproved of, as being calculated to retard 
rather than facilitate the meditated invasion of Canada. 
The soldiers could not be made comfortable in the climate 
of Albany, and sickness and desertion would be the conse- 
quences of attempting to keep them there. The address 
declared that larger appropriations had been voted than 
even the king had expected. The imputation of parsi- 
mony was therefore repelled ; as also was the intimation 
that the most perfect harmony did not exist between the 
different branches of the legislature. It was farther 
declared that the assembly was to guard against the private 
views of any artful or designing men ; and they should be 
sorry to find that any such men could prevail upon his 
excellency to break that harmony so necessary for the 
public welfare ; — adding, that if any such persons had 
been infusing such distrust into his excellency's mind, they 
must have had sinister ends in view, and could be no 
friends to their country. Disclaiming any designs to 
encroach upon the prerogatives of others, it was said that 
although collisions had happened in former times, yet they 
had arisen from the bad advice given by designing men 
to the governors, rather than from any wanton stretch of 
power by the people. In regard to the transportation of 
the army supplies, the address vindicated the action of the 
assembly, declaring " the circumstances of the colony 
would not suffer them to take one step farther;" but the 
committee nevertheless concluded their report with an as- 
surance that as far as was consistent with the duty they 



240 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, owed his majesty, they would always endeavor to make 
<— ^_, his excellency's administration easy. This last declaration 
1746. wag a mere flourish of rhetoric, hollow and insincere. 

The address was presented to the governor on the fifth 
of November. Three days afterward the committee to 
which had been referred the complaints of the commis- 
sioners of supplies touching the conduct of Roberts and 
Holland, in breaking open the stores of the commissariat 
at Albany, brought in their report. The documentary 
history of the controversy upon this subject is long. In 
brief, however, it appeared that in order to supply the 
deficiency in the number of state levies caused by sickness, 
desertion, and death, the governor had annexed to these 
forces four companies of independent fusileers, the supplies 
for whom did not fall within the precise letter of the act 
of appropriation. The commissioners of purchases had 
consequently refused to issue provisions for these four 
companies, in the face of an express order of the governor. 
When, moreover, the forces at Albany were ordered to 
march for the carrying place en route to Crown Point, the 
commissioners refused to convey the provisions to the 
place designated, and to other frontier points also, for 
their subsistence. Under these circumstances, having an 
order from the governor to meet the contingency, issued 
under a special impressment act of the general assembly, 
Roberts and Holland took the responsibility of taking the 
necessary supplies from the store houses themselves, — 
Doctor Colden, one of the governor's council, having 
sanctioned the procedure, after in vain threatening the 
commissioners with removal from office as a punishment 
for their contumacy. But it has been seen that under the 
influence of Mr. DeLancey, the assembly was rife for a 
quarrel with the governor ; and a resolution was passed 
censuring him in the first instance for the warrant that 
had been issued for the subsistence of the fusileers. A 
second resolution was adopted approving of the conduct 
of the commissioners ; a third, declaring the warrant of 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 241 

Colonel Roberts to Holland, directing lrim to open the chap. 
stores for supplies to be arbitrary and illegal ; a fourth, w^-^ 
declaring both Roberts and Holland guilty of a high mis- 1/46 ' 
demeanor; a fifth, declaring the breaking of the store- 
houses, and the seizure of the provisions, to be a manifest 
violation of the rights and liberties of the subject; a 
sixth, declaring that Holland was guilty of a high crime 
and misdemeanor for breaking the store-house ; a seventh, 
declaring it a high misdemeanor for any person in authority 
to attempt by threats to influence any officers appointed 
by law to violate their duty ; an eighth, applying the last 
mentioned resolution expressly to Cadwallader Golden, and 
declaring him guilty of the crime charged; a ninth, de- 
claring that it would be in vain for the assembly to vote 
farther supplies until an effectual stop should be put to 
such proceedings ; and a tenth, calling upon the governor 
to direct the attorney-general to prosecute the delinquents. 
Mr. Clinton replied to the address of the house of the 
fifth of November, on the tenth, with firmness and 
energy, — exhibiting more of dignity, and less of insta- 
bility than might have been expected under the circum- 
stances of the case from his choleric temperament. He 
had supposed the bad feeling of the Six Nations, and the 
misconduct of the Indian commissioners, matters of too 
great notoriety to require special averments or commen- 
taries in his opening speech. But in order to the better 
understanding of the case by the assembly, he had ordered 
copies of the documents which they had intimated a 
desire to examine, to be laid before them, whenever it 
might suit them to make the call. Had they asked for 
information respecting the military transactions at Albany, 
before expressing their dissatisfaction with those transac- 
tions, the governor suggested that they might possibly 
have formed different opinions, or arrived at different 
conclusions in regard to them. His excellency censured 
the house for having given publicity to their address ; 
expressed his regret that his recommendations for a good 
31 



242 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, agreement among the different branches of the govern- 
v— v-/ ment in times of danger should have given offence ; and 
7 6 renewed his protestations of a sincere desire to cultivate a 
spirit of harmony in his administration. "And now 
gentlemen," he added, "I think this is an occasion on 
which I may be allowed to tell you, that within the six 
months last past, I have gone through with more diffi- 
culties, I have had less assistance, and I have done more 
for this province, than I believe any governor of New 
York has done before me ; I feel in my own heart my zeal 
for my king and my country's service ; and therefore I can 
with pleasure lay the account of my administration at his 
majesty's feet. Meantime I shall to the utmost of my 
power, be careful of the rights and liberties of every man 
under my government. J shall be more especially careful 
of the preservation of your privileges ; and at the same 
time to preserve that part of his majesty's authority 
entrusted to me." 

This message, however, having been prepared in answer 
to the proceedings of the assembly of the fifth of Novem- 
ber, formed of course no answer to the resolutions of the 
eighth, respecting the seizure of the provisions at Albany 
by Roberts and Holland, and demanding the arrest and 
trial of those officers. Indeed it is most likely that those 
resolutions had not been communicated to the governor in 
form when this message was delivered, the tone of which 
was not calculated to allay the already excited feelings of 
the legislature. A recess of ten days, from the fourteenth 
to the twenty-fourth of November, was allowed ; and on 
reassembling of that body, a message was in readiness to 
meet them, extended and elaborate, answering the resolu- 
tions of the eighth seriatim, and justifying the proceedings 
at Albany, which, his excellency declared, had been direct- 
ed by himself and his council under the pressure of the 
utmost necessity. 

Viewing the transactions in question at this length of 
time, although the commissioners entrusted by the assem- 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 243 

bly with the supplies, whose duty it was to deliver them chap. 
out, and the assembly which sustained their course, had^l/ 
the advantage of the popular side of the controversy, yet 1746 - 
it seems equally certain that those commissioners acted in 
a manner greatly embarrassing to the public service ; — for 
what substantial reason does not appear. Mr. Clinton, in 
obedience to the orders of the crown, and in concert with 
Governor Shirley and Admiral Warren, had planned what 
was intended to be a final and decisive descent upon Canada, 
— the conquest of which was indispensable to the security 
and repose of the English colonies, — for which purpose the 
forces had been collected at Albany. In October they were 
ordered to advance to the carrying-place between the Hud- 
son river and Lake Champlain, — to which point the com- 
missioners of subsistence were requested to forward the 
necessary supplies from the store houses in Albany. The 
request was refused under the flimsy pretext that they were 
not in funds that could be applied to that purpose. Those 
commissioners were John Cuyler and Dirck Ten Broeck. 
On being demanded by Colonel Roberts whether they 
would deliver the provisions, should the means of trans- 
portation be provided, they refused because they had no 
power, as they alleged, to comply. The colonel then 
demanded whether they would deliver the provisions to a 
commissary, or to the quartermasters, under the warrant of 
the governor, to be receipted for. This request, right in 
itself, and reasonable withal, was also refused, upon the 
mere technical pretext that by the act of the assembly they 
were allowed to deliver supplies " only to the captains." 
All these excuses were obviously evasions. The Schuylers, 
whose interest was powerful, were offended because Mr. 
Johnson was rising into favor in the Indian department. 
De Lancey, who had been succeeded in the governor's 
affections, by Golden, was implacable ; and he was omnipo- 
tent with the assembly, of which body the commissioners 
were the agents. Hence it was the policy of each of these 
interests to embarrass, rather than to strengthen, the com- 



244 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, mander-in-chief. Yet the frontiers must be protected ; and 

vi. * 

Wy—* the orders to Colonel Roberts were peremptory to move 

1746. ;y g f orces northward to the carrying-plaee. A council of 
war was held after the refusal of the commissioners to 
move the provisions, consisting of Lieutenant-Colonels 
Roberts and Marshall, and Majors Clarke and Ruther- 
ford, — the latter officer being also one of the executive 
council, — at which it was determined, as the only alterna- 
tive in the emergency, to make use of a warrant granted 
in anticipation of some such act of contumacy, authorizing 
the impressment of the necessary supplies from the colonial 
stores, giving a receipt for the same, and taking all proper 
measures to guard against waste or extravagance. The 
case was stated with all frankness and candor in the mes- 
sage, yet without asperity. But, although under the cir- 
cumstances then existing, it is difficult to perceive what 
other course could have been adopted on the instant of the 
emergency, the governor's explanations nevertheless gave 
no satisfaction to the assembly, as was made fully to appear 
by the resolves passed two days afterward. In addition to 
the declaration of dissatisfaction, it was resolved that no 
further supplies should be voted while the abuses of which 
they complained were openly avowed and encouraged. A 
thrust was likewise aimed at Doctor Colden, who had con- 
curred in the proceedings of Colonel Roberts, and who had 
doubtless advised, if he had not prepared, the vindictory 
message, by a resolution declaring " that whoever had 
advised the said message, had endeavored to create jealous- 
ies and dissensions among the several branches of the legis- 
lature ; had encouraged a manifest breach of the laws of 
the colony; and were enemies to the constitution thereof." 
But notwithstanding the attitude thus assumed, the assem- 
bly still avowed its readiness, as soon as proper assurances 
were given that the alleged abuses should be effectually 
prevented, to vote an ample allowance for the subsistence 
of the forces. 

Mr. Clinton was either alarmed at the resolutions, or else 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 245 

he judged it no suitable time for a controversy. His mes- chap. 
sage in reply was conciliatory if not yielding. He only w v ^_/ 
required that for the future, the provisions for the army 1746< 
should be delivered out agreeably to the existing engage- 
ments of the assembly, in which case nothing that had 
happened could or should happen again. He also pledged 
himself that all possible care should be taken of the pro- 
visions, and exact accounts rendered. This advance had 
the effect of allaying the storm, and the assembly applied 
itself to its duties in a spirit that encouraged the governor 
to call for additional supplies for the maintenance of arti- 
zans among the Senecas, and also for bounty money for 
female scalps — bounties being allowed only upon the scalps 
of males by the existing laws. The immediate cause for 
preferring this request, — so abhorent to the feelings of the 
present day, — was the fact that a party of the Six Nations 
had recently brought in three female prisoners from Canada, 
and one female scalp. Evidence was thus afforded that the 
Confederates had at length engaged heartily in the war ; 
and the governor thought they should be encouraged in 
the manner proposed. The same message also demanded 
supplies for Oswego, and announced that Mr. Johnson had 
become the contractor for that post, — with a stipulation 
that no higher charges should be made in time of war, than 
it had been usual to pay in time of peace. Heed was taken 
of these requisitions, and the necessary supply bills both 
for the civil and military service, were passed. * An act 
was also passed authorizing a lottery to raise two thousand 
two hundred and fifty pounds for founding a college in the 
city of New York. This was the first step taken toward 
the establishment of Kings, now Columbia College, — so 
far behind the colonists of New England were those of 
New York, on the great subject of education. 2 

1 Manuscript letter from Johnson to Capt. John Catherwood, acknow- 
ledging receipt of advices that the assembly had by resolution approved of 
the governor's recommendation that he (Johnson) should supply the troops 
at Oswego. Thanks the governor, and promises to act with energy, &c. 

2 This was at the distance of more than one hundred and twenty years 
after the discovery and settlement of New York, whereas the colonies of 



246 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. It was now the fourth of December, and the general assem- 
•*-v— blj was drawing its session to a close. Mr. DeLancey, how- 
1746. ever, conld not allow the session to terminate without mak- 
ing another demonstration against his rival, Doctor Colclen. 
On the day last mentioned, the chief justice called the 
attention of the legislative council to a pamphlet giving an 
account of the Indian negotiations at Albany, of which so 
much has already been said in the present chapter, wherein 
it was set forth that although the governor had requested 
the members of his council to attend and assist in those 
negotiations, three only had complied with the request, viz : 
Messrs. Colden, Livingston, and Rutherford. According 
to that narrative, therefore, his excellency had been left to 
act with the smallest number of counsellors that could con- 
stitutionally form a board. Mr. DeLancey considered this 
statement a reflection upon the non-attending councilors, 
and moved that the printer of the pamphlet be summoned 
to the bar, to answer as to its authorship, An animated 
debate ensued upon the motion, in the course of which Dr. 
Colden averred the authorship, and assumed the responsi- 
bility of its publication. Messrs. DeLancey, Horsmanden 
and Murray successively uttered some animadversions upon 
the pamphlet ; and on the motion of the former, a vote of 
censure was adopted, denouncing the offensive passage as a 
misrepresentation of the facts, and an invidious reflection 
upon those members of the council who did not accompany 
the governor to Albany. 

Massachusetts and Connecticut had commenced their institutions of classi- 
cal learning very soon after planting their colonies. Smith, the historian, 
states that for many years within his recollection the only academics in the 
colony of New York, except such as were in holy orders, were Mr. DeLancey 
a graduate of Cambridge, England, and Mr. Smith, (the historian's father,) 
who was at the bar. At the time even, now under examination, there were 
not above thirteen graduates in the colony, excluding the clergy. Except 
Mr. DeLancey, there was then no graduate of a college upon the bench, or 
in either of the branches of the legislature. The practice then, even of the 
most opulent of the citizens, whose attention was generally engrossed with 
commerce, was to send their sons directly from the writing school to the 
counting room, and thence to the West Indies. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 247 

The session closed on the following day. No events of chap. 
public or political importance occurred within the province > — v — - 
of New York during the residue of December ; nor did the 1746 - 
enemy after the capture of Fort Massachusetts, harrass the 
northern border any more during this year. 

Meantime, Mr. Johnson was growing rapidly in the favor 
of the governor, to whom he paid a visit in New York 
toward the close of the autumn. I have not been able to 
discover the date of Johnson's elevation to the military 
rank of colonel ; but it must have been at about the period 
of time now under review. He had a brother, Warren 
Johnson, a captain in the royal service, who had recruited 
a company in Boston that year. The captain wrote to his 
brother William, on the ninth of October, that his uncle 
Warren, (the admiral,) was on the eve of sailing for Louis- 
burg, and that his lady was preparing to return to New 
York to pass the winter. On the tenth of December, the 
captain was in New York on his way to the Mohawk 
country to visit his brother. By his hand, under the last- 
mentioned date, governor Clinton addressed a letter "To 
Colonel William Johnson, at Albany." This is the earliest 
document I have found among the Johnson manuscripts? 
superscribed with a military title. The letter, the main 
purpose of writing which was to request the colonel to pur- 
chase for his excellency a pair of black stallions, contained 
the following passage : — " This comes by your brother. I 
hope he will find you well. I hear nothing of news but 
what he will tell you. I have recommended you to his 
majesty's favor through the duke of Newcastle. I must 
desire you will keep up the Indians to their promises of 
keeping out scouts to watch the motions of the French." 
From this letter, therefore, it is probable that Clinton had 
just then commissioned Mr. Johnson as a colonel, subject 
to the approbation of the crown. 

The operations of the New Englanders in Nova Scotia, 
ended disastrously. The French and Indian forces, whose 
purpose it was to cooperate with the fleet of the Count 



248 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. D'Anville, did not retire from that peninsula on the dis- 
v— v l_,persion of the fleet, and General Shirley judged it neces- 
1746 - sary to send a body of provincials, to dislodge them. The 
levies from Massachusetts, with the exception of those on 
hoard of one of the transports which was wrecked, arrived 
at Annapolis in safety, as also did two hundred of the New 
Hampshire troops. One of the New Hampshire transports, 
after a blundering cruise in the Bay of Funcly, was decoyed 
to a French sloop, and the crew captured. The Rhode Island 
levies did not reach their place of destination, their vessels 
being 1 wrecked. In the course of the winter, the Massachu- 
setts forces at Annapolis being inferior in numbers to the 
enemy, yet deceived as to the extent of the disparity, were 
drawn into the field by false representations, and defeated, 
after a severe engagement, in the midst of a driving snow 
storm at Minas. Col. Arthur Noble, with about sixty men, 
was killed, and there were fifty wounded. Noble's army did 
not exceed six hundred men ; and the survivors of the bat- 
tle, unable to escape, were compelled to capitulate. Cheva- 
lier Ramsay commanded the French ; but notwithstanding 
his victory, he did not venture to attack Annapolis, nor did 
the French inhabitants yet move in their meditated revolt. x 
The posts on the western border of New Hampshire, had 
been guarded by troops from Massachusetts; but inas- 
much as those posts were without the jurisdiction of the 
colony, the garrisons were withdrawn late in the autumn. 
The settlers along that border, being left thus exposed, fell 
back upon the larger towns — taking away such of their 
goods as they could remove, burning such as could not 
be concealed in the earth without damage, and leaving 
the residue exposed to the ravages of the enemy. But the 
enemy was not active during this winter, and its deep repose 
in the forests of the north was only broken once, by an 
attack of the Indians upon Fort Hinsdale, occupied only 
by six families, by the stalwart hands of which the post was 
successfully defended. 

i Belknap, Grahame, Hutchinson, Hoyt. 






CHAPTER VII. 

1747. 

Impatient of delay, and anxious that the blow so long chap. 
meditated against Canada might be struck before the^,^ 
French should have power to repel it, the active mind of 1747. 
Shirley conceived the project of a descent upon Crown 
Point at mid-winter. The legislature of Massachusetts 
was readily persuaded to second the enterprise ; and on 
the sixteenth of January, Governor Clinton communicated 
to his council a very long letter from Mr. Shirley, setting 
forth his plans, and urging the cooperation of New York, 
and the adoption of immediate and vigorous measures to 
that end. It was Shirley's intention, while the troops 
destined directly against Crown Point were concentrating 
in the neighborhood of Albany, to create a diversion in 
the enemy's country, by detaching a force of five hundred 
men, to march through the valley of the Connecticut, and 
fall upon the villages of the St. Francis Indians, two 
hundred miles north of the English settlements. A simi- 
lar movement, for the like object, was urged upon Gov- 
ernor Clinton, to be made against Fort Frontenac by the 
way of Oswego. Could the French be thus doubly 
distracted by simultaneous attacks at those distant points, 
it was presumed that in respect to the grand enterprise 
against Crown Point and Montreal, there could remain no 
well-founded doubt of success. Mr. Shirley, therefore, 
seeming to take it for granted that New York would 
second the enterprise without hesitation, much less with 
reluctance, asked for the services of its levies, then in 
garrison at Albany, 1 and requested that accommodations 

x The New York forces during the winter of 1746 — '47, were distributed 
32 



250 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, for the New England troops might be provided at Sara- 
v_ v _<toga. He desired farther that the Six Nations might be 
1747 - brought into the field, and that forts might be erected by- 
New York, at the heads of Lakes George and Champlain. 1 
The letter was referred to a committee by the council, 
the report of which was indecisive and unsatisfactory. 
The committee affected to be in favor of the enterprise, 
yet doubted the practicability of carrying it into execu- 
tion before the breaking up of winter. It was alleged 
that there were sufficient accommodations for the New 
England levies at Saratoga ; the forts could not be built 
in time to guard the portages at the heads of the two 
lakes ; and as to the proposed design against Fort Fronte- 
nac, New York was then in no condition to undertake it. 
On the whole, therefore, the committee thought " a winter 
campaign against Crown Point was liable to many diffi- 
culties, and would be a hazardous undertaking." 2 Governor 
Clinton was nevertheless inclined to favor the scheme, 
wild and impracticable as it seemed to many; and on the 
second of February he requested a more definite expression 
of opinion by his council. Two days afterward that 
opinion w r as given, in the form of a very decisive report 
against the whole project. It was urged, not without rea- 
son, that the winters in that high northern latitude were 
at best exceedingly unfavorable for military operations, 
and it was moreover then too late. The warriors of the 
Six Nations could not by any possibility be collected in sea- 
son for the contemplated movement ; and besides, more 
than a fortnight had intervened since a syllable had been 
heard from the projector of the expedition — Mr. Shirley. 
It was therefore held, as presented, to be utterly impracti- 

at various points. Some were posted at Saratoga ; others in the Mohawk 
country ; and others again at Schenectady. Three companies were at 
Schaghticoke ; four at Half Moon ; two at Niskayuna, and others still at 
Albany. 

1 Shirley's letter — Minutes of the council board. 

2 Idem. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 251 

cable. 1 Belknap adds, as another reason prompting to this chap. 
conclusion, that the small-pox was prevailing in the settle- w^ — • 
ments north of Albany, through which the forces must 1 ' 47- 
necessarily pass, — a disease, the violence of which, at that 
day, had not been disarmed of its terrors by vaccination, 
or even mitigated by the process of inoculation. The 
agency of Clinton's council in defeating this darling enter- 
prise of Shirley's, seems not to have been generally or 
publicly known, and the merit, — if such it may be called, — 
of defeating it, has been accorded alone to " the more sober 
discretion of Connecticut," the government of which 
" deemed the winter an improper season for so important 
an undertaking," refusing to furnish its quota of troops 
until spring. 2 Equally effectual was the unfavorable 
interposition of the New York council board. 

An active correspondence was maintained between 
Governor Clinton and Colonel Johnson, during the winter 
and spring, having relation to the protection of the fron- 
tiers in general, but more especially to the Indian service ; 
and the letters of the governor bear evidence that the 
colonel was already in the enjoyment of his strongest confi- 
dence. The notorious Jean Cceur, one of the most perse- 
vering and mischievous of the Jesuit emissaries in the 
Indian Confederacy, was yet among the Senecas, and it 
was deemed by Johnson an object of high importance to 
obtain possession of his person. He communicated his 
views upon the subject to the governor in February, by 
whom the project was warmly approved, and the colonel 
was urged to use his utmost endeavors to effect the object, 
either by stratagem or force, as circumstances might 
require. Early in March, moreover, Mr. Clinton wrote to 
Johnson directing him to send out as many war-parties 

1 Council minutes in manuscript 

8 Belknap and Marshall. Smith does not even allude to these winter 
deliberations. 



252 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. " of Indians and Christians, 1 to harass the enemy in their 
«— v— 'own settlements," as he could bring into the service. To 
1747, carry the war into the enemy's own country, and in his 
own way, was rightly judged " one of the most effectual 
means to prevent their daring mischief to us." 2 The 
Colonel was yet farther directed to send a party of Indians 
to the garrison at Saratoga, to act as scouts, — the com- 
manding officer of which post being enjoined to treat the 
Indians thus coming to his assistance with the utmost 
kindness. 3 In reply to the letter thus abridged, Colonel 
Johnson wrote as follows : 

Colonel Johnson to Governor Clinton, 

" Mount Johnson, March 18, 1747. 
" May it please your Excellency : 

" This instant I am honored with your's by the express, 
and by whom I send this in return. In answer to what 
your excellency says about sending a party as out-scouts to 
Saratoga, I can only say that I find already that it is not 
at all agreeable to the Indians, they being now inclined and 
ready to go against Canada, where they say they can do 
more execution. Moreover they never like to keep in a 
garrison among so many Christians. Yesterday a party of 
twenty-two Christians and Indians returned from Saratoga, 
where I sent them in hopes to have met and intercepted 
some of the enemy's out-scouts. But they met none. No 

1 The whites at that day were called Christians in distinction from the 
Indians. 

z Grahame, in his usually acurate, and very excellent history of the 
United States, falls into an important error respecting these predatory 
excursions of the Indians, which he maintains, were not encouraged by the 
English. Such was by no means the fact. The English employed all the 
Indians they could upon this service. Grahame, however, was probably 
led into the error by Belknap, who wrote particularly of New England 
and evidently in great ignorance of the operations in New York. See 
Grahame, book x, chap. ii. 

3 Manuscript letter; Clinton to Johnson. At its close, the governor 
said — << Pray let me know how poor old Hendrick dies, who, I am sorry to 
hear, is so bad." Hendrick, it will be remembered, was the king of the 
Mohawks. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 253 

one will more readily comply with your excellency's orders chap. 
than I shall ; but at this time I would beg leave to assure ^—^ 
your excellency that the consequence of it may be disas- 1747 - 
trous by keeping the Indians from fighting — they being 
now inclining that way more and more. I have this week 
sent out a parcel of Canajoharies, mixed with a few of the 
Five Nations 1 against the French and their settlements, and 
am every day busy with fitting out more. I am going to 
send up Captain Stephens and two of the lieutenants, with 
a small party of men, and Indian chiefs of the two castles 
with them, to bring down some of the Five Nations to go 
a-scalping. I am of opinion we shall make the French 
smart this spring, by taking, scalping, and burning them 
and their settlements. But I shall be ruined for want of 
blankets, linen, paints, guns, cutlasses, &c, for I am almost 
out of all these, and cannot get them in Albany. I 
believe your excellency has seen how difficult it was last fall 
for you to get those things. But how much more so for 
me, being so envied by them. Wherefore if I cannot have 
them from New York by the first opportunity, I do not 
know what I shall do. So I hope your excellency will 
endeavor to have them procured and sent up, — as also the 
pay for those belonging to me, about four hundred and 
thirty pounds. The party now going out were so uneasy 
that I paid the most of them to encourage them. Old 
Hendrick is in a pretty fair way of recovering again, which 
will be of great service to our cause. I hope that your 
excellency will order it so that my people may be supplied 
as the rest, with every thing on a march which is requisite. 
As to the party which you intend to send to Oswego, I shall 
be ready to transport them a little after the lake opens, 
which I judge to be in about a fortnight. But be that as 
it will, I shall always let you know time enough beforehand. 
"We kept St. Patrick's day yesterday and this day, and drank 

1 Sointhe original draught of the letter. Yet the Canajoharies were 
only a clan of the Mohawks — the head of the original Five Nations. 



254 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

C vn P * y° ur health, and that of all friends in Albany, with so many 
v -v — - other healths that I can scarce write. 

"I am, with great regard, dear sir, your most obedient 
humble servant, 

"Wm. Johnson," 

As a farther encouragement to the Indians, the legisla- 
ture of Massachusetts voted an additional bounty for scalps ; 
but Johnson opposed the allowance, and suggested that a 
different direction be given to the appropriation. Inasmuch, 
he said, as the bounty for scalps allowed by the assembly 
of New York, was entirely satisfactory to the Indians, and 
inasmuch also as he had already sent off several war-parties 
under the promise of that bounty and no more, he proposed 
applying the Massachusetts funds to the purchase of 
clothing and subsistence for the Indians and their families, 
now become very poor from the long time they had been 
kept from their hunting. l The Indians were at this time 
wretchedly armed, and scantily supplied ; but Clinton was 
doing all in his power, as he wrote to Johnson on the 
twentieth of March, to remedy these deficiencies. The 
letters of the latter show that the need was pressing. 

It was now the fourth year of the war. Yet, with the 
exception of the conquest of Louisburg, scarcely anything 
had been accomplished against the enemy, even in retalia- 
tion for the remorseless cruelties visited upon the border 
settlements of the English along the whole northern fron- 
tier. The energies of the colonies had been exerted, seem- 
ingly almost to exhaustion, in large preparations ending only 
in mortifying abortions. Such being the situation of affairs, 
Colonel Johnson, now at the head of the Indian depart- 
ment, determined to exert himself to the utmost in making 
the enemy realize the true character of the species of war- 
fare he had adopted, by pouring into the Canadian settle- 
ments as many scalping parties as he could command. The 
contest became, therefore, so far as the colonies were con- 

1 Manuscript letter ; Colonel Johnson to Colonel Jolin Stoddard, of North- 
ampton. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 255 

cerned, ignoble upon both sides ; " resembling more the chap. 
practices of banditti than the operations of civilized war- w y-1/ 
fare, and tending to no other results than obscure individ- 1747, 
ual suffering, and partial havoc and devastation." In 
order to a better understanding of the manner in which the 
war was thus waged, and of the activity and energy of 
Colonel Johnson, even at this early period of his military 
career, the following letter is inserted at large : 

Colonel Johnson to Governor Clinton. 

" Mount Johnson, May 30, 1747. 
" May it please your Excellency : 

" You cannot conceive the uneasiness your long silence 
gives me, — not having had the honor of a line from you 
since the thirtieth of April. It is now the first time that 
I have wanted money for scalps and prisoners, and instruc- 
tions most of all. The numbers about me every day going 
to war, takes abundance of arms, ammunition and clothing, 
and I am quite bare of most of those things. Your excel- 
lency will conceive that what I have received is but a mere 
trifle with so many as I have to distribute it among, although 
so sparingly done ; and were it not for my own store, and 
what goods I have been obliged to buy, I should have been 
obliged to drop the affair some time ago, which would have 
been very hard after all my trouble to bring them so heartily 
into our interest. I am quite pestered every day, with par- 
ties returning with prisoners and scalps, and without a 
penny to pay them with, ;t comes very hard upon me, and 
is displeasing to them, I can assure you, for they expect 
their pay, and demand it of me as soon as they return, as 
I mentioned to your excellency in my last of the twenty-fifth 
instant. Now that they find the money is not ready, they 
tell me this was but a draw to encourage them. Therefore 
I wish your excellency would only consider of it shortly. 
I thank God there is nothing wanting or backward in my 
affairs, wherefore hope your excellency will not let me 
suffer, or the cause drag for want of things requisite to 



256 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, carry it on. If your excellency intends soon to come up 
v-^l/to Albany, I should be glad to receive your orders concern- 
1747. i n g the Indians coming down, for they certainly expect to 
be called, or invited, down this summer by you, or else by 
me. I am positive I could do more with them here, by far, 
than if they went to Albany, without going to above a 
quarter the expense ; because there they are corrupted by 
evil people, and drink all the goods they get, whereas here 
they have not that opportunity, but can carry them home 
and show their families what they have had of you, — which 
would encourage them much. Moreover here I have all 
my counsellors, the Mohawks and Canajoharies, with whose 
assistance I could bring them to do anything. There is 
nothing more requisite at present than some blue camlet, 
red shalloon, good lace and white metal buttons, to make 
up a parcel of coats for some chief warriors from the Sene- 
cas, and for others who are daily expected. "Wherefore I 
wish your excellency would send me up these things by 
the first opportunity, and also about thirty good castor hats, 
with scallop lace for them all ; white lace, if to be had, if 
not some yellow with it. This I assure your excellency 
goes a great way with them. They have been gained so 
mostly by the French always, and of consequence they 
expect it from us, and we have promised it. There is three 
mouths pay due to my officers and people the first of June, 
and as they are all upon hard service with the Indians daily, 
they require their pay, which I hope your excellency will 
please pay unto Mr. Anthony Duane, merchant of New 
York, who will give your excellency a receipt for it. I also 
should be glad your excellency would advise me how I 
shall get the money for the enclosed account, being now a 
year due almost, and by your orders. Just as I was finish- 
ing my letter, arrived another party of mine, consisting of 
only six Mohawks, who brought with them seven prisoners 
and three scalps, which is very great for so small a party. 
I have my house, &c, now all full of the Five Nations, — 
some going out to-morrow against the French. Others go 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

for news, which, when furnished, I shall let your excellency chap. 
know. My people's success is now the talk of the whole > — ^— ' 
country. I expect in a short time several more parties 1747 * 
home from Canada. I believe Hendrick will he the first, 
who, I dare say, will bring a great many with him, dead or 
alive— so that we shall need a great deal of money among 
them all. They have brought in this spring as follows : 
First, by Lieut. Walter Butler and his party, from Crown 

Point, the scalps of men, 6 

By Lieut. Thomas Butler and party, prisoners, 8 

By a Canajoharie party, prisoners, 3 

Scalps, , 2 

By Gingegoe and party, prisoners, 7 

Scalps, 3 

Total this spring, 29 

" If the money is sent up to me for this use, I shall give 
certificates of age, and render a clear account thereof, and 
the Indians shall receive it all in dollars, and not be cheat- 
ed, as they would be by others, who would only give them 
some trifles of goods, rum, &c, for their bounty, — which 
usage has ruined our Indians mostly. 

I am, with the greatest respect, your excellency's much 

obliged humble servant, &c. 

"¥m. Johnson." 

Petty details of a petty warfare ; but the record is essen- 
tial to a just understanding of the border history of those 
times, for it was in this manner only that active hostilities 
were prosecuted during the entire open season. Neither 
the inhabitants of the English nor of the French borders 
were left to the enjoyment of a moment's security or repose. 
Exposed every hour to these hostile and often bloody incur- 
sions, they were compelled to fortify their houses by night, 
and go armed while performing the labors of the field by 
day. 

One of the most considerable of these hostile incursions 
during the spring of this year, was an attack upon a small 
33 



258 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, fort in Charlestown, New Hampshire, by a large body of 
Wy^/ French and Indians, under the command of M. Debeline. 
1747. This post had been unoccupied during the winter ; but 
toward the close of March, captain Phineas Stevens, an 
officer who had been in command of it the year before, 
returned to the station, at the head of a body of thirty 
Massachusetts rangers, and no more. The enemy came 
stealthily into the immediate neighborhood of the fort, as 
it was called, — being, however, nothing but a small pick- 
etted stockade, — and lay in concealment, watching, doubt- 
less, for an opportunity when the gate should be opened, 
to rush in and carry the work by a sudden assault unawares. 
Uneasiness, however, on the part of the dogs in the fort, 
created a suspicion that all was not right without. The 
little garrison being thus upon the qui vive, one of the men, 
desirous of ascertaining the cause of this canine inquietude, 
left the fort, and creeping cautiously to the distance of thirty 
rods, discharged his gun. Supposing themselves to have 
been discovered, a party of the enemy sprang up and fired 
at the adventurous ranger, slightly wounding him. Not 
with sufficient severity, however, to prevent his regaining 
the fort, though hotly pursued by the enemy, who, no 
longer affecting concealment, rushed forward with savage 
yells as though determined at once to carry the defence. 
But their courage was unequal to the attempt ; and for a 
considerable time nothing more was done than to keep up 
a general fire, brisk, but ineffectual. The rangers were 
well covered, and small arms could of course make no sensi- 
ble impression upon the stockade ; but the fire was never- 
theless returned with spirit. Finding the garrison bent 
upon a resolute defence, and perceiving that the work was 
constructed of combustible materials, the enemy next 
attempted to set on fire, and thus summarily to compel a 
surrender. To this end the torch was applied to the neigh- 
boring fences, and also to a log-house standing about forty 
rods to windward. A brisk wind favored the design, and 
the flames approached, enveloping the fort in a dense body 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. . 259 

of smoke, and eclipsing the view of the enemy, — but of chap. 
whose continued presence, the hideous yells of the savages, < — » — : 
and the incessant rattle of musketry, gave ample evidence. 1747, 
There was indeed immediate danger from the approach of 
the devouring element, and it is quite probable that through 
its agency the enemy would have been successful but for a 
lucky expedient devised by captain Stevens^ and bravely 
executed by his men. The soil being favorable for rapid 
excavation, several subterranean passages or galleries were 
carried under the parapet, deep enough to allow the men 
to stand in them at the foot of the stockades on the outside, 
yet completely covered from the enemy. Buckets of water 
from the well within were then passed rapidly to the men 
standing in the trenches without, which being dashed 
upward upon the timbers, they were moistened sufficiently 
to prevent ignition. Failing in this first effort to produce 
a conflagration, M. Debeline next prepared a sort of man- 
lalet, loaded with faggots, which were fired and forced down 
upon the fort. Showers of burning arrows were also shot 
into the defence, — a device which was alike abortive. The 
exertions of one-half the thirty preserved the work from 
the fire, while the other half lost no opportunity of firing 
upon the enemy, as often as he could be discovered through 
the intervening clouds of smoke. On the second day of 
the seige the French commander proposed a cessation of 
hostilities, until sunrise of the following morning, — a propo- 
sition readily acceded to by Captain Stevens, but the object 
of which does not appear. But no matter : just before the 
expiration of the armistice, Debeline, himself, bearing a 
flag, with fifty of his men, approached within fifty rods of 
the stockade, and a parley ensued, — Stevens receiving a 
lieutenant and two of the enemy into the fort as hostages, 
while the same number proceeded to a conference with 
the French commander. His demand was a surrender of 
the fort, the garrison to be conducted to Montreal as 
prisoners of war, with a request that Captain Stevens should 
meet him and reply to the summons in person. Ascertain- 



260 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, ing that his men would stand by him in defending their 
v—y—- little work to the last, Stevens proceeded to meet the 
1747. Frenchman as requested, but was received roughly. With- 
out pausing for an interchange even of the ordinary cour- 
tesies required by good breeding, Debeline threatened that 
if his terms were rejected, he would take the fort by storm ; 
— adding, that in the event of the death of any of his men 
in the assault, he would put every man of the garrison to 
the sword. Under a menace like that, Stevens at once 
declined further negotiations, — declaring his purpose to 
listen to no overtures of surrender whatever, until his 
means of defence should be exhausted. " Do as you please," 
replied Debeline ; — " I am resolved to have the fort or die. 
Go and see if your men dare fight any longer, and give me 
a speedy answer." Returning to the stockade, the hostages 
were interchanged, and at about twelve o'clock meridian, 
hostilities were recommenced, the firing being continued all 
that day, and the night following. Just at the peep of dawn 
on the third day, Stevens was addressed from the ranks of 
the enemy with the friendly salutation " Good morning," 
to which was added a proposition for a second armistice of 
two hours. It was granted ; and shortly before its expira- 
tion, two Indians approached with a flag, proclaiming that 
if the English would sell them some provisions, they would 
withdraw without offering further molestation. The nego- 
tiation was declined upon the basis proposed ; — Stevens, 
however, offering to supply them with provisions at the 
rate of five bushels of corn for every prisoner the enemy 
Would stipulate to release at Montreal, hostages to be left 
to secure a faithful performance of the agreement. This 
proposition was in turn rejected; but the fire of the enemy 
gradually fell away, and before nightfall the seige was 
raised and the foe departed, deeply chagrined, beyond all 
t doubt, at the failure of his enterprise, especially of the 
boastful confidence with which it had been commenced. 
The attack continued three days, during which thousands 
of balls were discharged into the fort, yet not a man of the 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 261 

garrison was killed, and but two of them wounded, and chap. 
those slightly. Commodore Sir Charles Knowles, then^.^, 
with his squadron lying at Boston, was so highly gratified 1(47 - 
with the conduct of Captain Stevens, that he sent him an 
elegant sword, hearing a suitable inscription. The bravery 
of Stevens, and the mental resources which he discovered, 
were subjects of high praise in other quarters ; yet he has 
been criticised for his imprudence in admitting the hosta- 
ges retained by him during the negotiations, into the fort, — 
thus necessarily disclosing his weakness, — while it has also 
been suggested that he ought not to have risked his own 
person by placing himself within the power of a perfidious 
enemy, when he might rather have sent a subaltern to 
meet the French commander. 

Debeline did not retire from the country at once, but on 
raising the siege of the stockade he divided his motley 
forces into several small parties, by which the border set- 
tlements of New Hampshire were infested for weeks there- 
after. Skirmishes were frequent, houses were burnt, and 
individuals were killed from day to day. All the dwell- 
ings in the two settlements of Winchester and Upper 
Ashuelot were destroyed by fire. Yet nearer to Albany 
the enemy was hovering about in considerable numbers. 

In May, the government of Massachusetts commenced 
rebuilding the fort of that name which had been destroyed 
the year before by M. Vaudreuil. A party of one 
hundred men having been detached to Albany for provi- 
sions, on its return discovered the enemy in ambuscade 
in the very environs of the works. The discovery was 
timely. An engagement ensued, and the enemy, attacked 
upon both sides, — both by the returning party and the 
garrison, — was soon obliged to flee to the woods, whence 
he did not again emerge. The loss to the English was 
trifling, two men only being wounded, and one killed, — 
the latter an Indian ally of the Stockbridge tribe. 

While the border-men were engaged in these predatory 
aifairs, — prolific of individual suffering, but, though illus- 



262 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, trated by many acts of personal conduct worthy of all 
*— v — ■ praise, productive of no important results, — Governor 
1747 - Clinton was again involved in hostilities with his legisla- 
ture. In the reasonable expectation of receiving instruc- 
tions from ministers touching the prosecution of the war, 
the governor had delayed summoning the general assembly 
until the twenty-fifth of March. But no instructions 
came ; and the season was already so far advanced as to 
require very active dispositions of the forces already in 
service for guarding the exposed points of the frontiers, 
even were offensive operations not in contemplation. The 
assembly was told in the speech that Colonel Roberts had 
been sent to Boston to confer with Governor Shirley, and 
that the Mohawks had been detained from their hunting 
expeditions that they might be in readiness to act in the war 
as circumstances might require. For the purpose of yet 
farther cultivating the friendship of the Six Nations, the 
governor proposed another voyage to counsel with them at 
Albany, for which obj ect he required an appropriation. The 
long proposed expedition against Crown Point was again 
presented for legislative consideration; and, in the absence 
both of the advices and supplies expected from England, 
appropriations were required for the construction of the 
forts so long talked of at the carrying-places between the 
Hudson river and Lake Champlain. The forces likewise 
for the expedition, were to be levied and paid by the colo- 
nies embarking therein, upon all which points a full and 
cordial understanding existed between Governors Clinton 
and Shirley. Provision having only been made for victualing 
the levies then in the service until the first of May, farther 
supplies were required for that object. A week afterward 
a special message was sent down asking an appropriation 
for maintaining scouts, and a corps of rangers upon 
the frontiers. These requests were judged the more rea- 
sonable, inasmuch as all the expenses of the Indian service, 
and for the rangers, had been defrayed during the preced- 
ing year by the crown. No other business was presented 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 263 

to the consideration of the assembly, whose session, the chap. 
governor suggested, must be short. v — v — ' 

Justice Horsmanden reported the address of the council 
in answer to the speech. It contained the following pas- 
sage embodying a reflection upon the integrity of the 
Indians, which, judging from the correspondence of Colo- 
nel Johnson, seems not at that time at least to have been 
deserved. 

"It cannot but occasion great uneasiness in us to observe, 
that our Indians employed in the barbarous method of 
scalping, (only justifiable by the precedent practices of our 
enemies,) industriously avoid attacking, or meeting the 
French Indians ; or when they meet, treat each other as 
friends ; whereby they are encouraged in their cruel practice 
of butchering those who are not in arms, and even those 
who are unable to bear arms — women and children." 

The assembly, determined to continue its quarrel with 
the governor, neglected the customary civility of voting an 
address. But the situation of the country forbade entire 
inaction, and a petition from the inhabitants of Kinderhook, 
accompanying the special message, contained a pathetic 
appeal to the assembly for a garrison of fifty men for their 
defence, and a like number of rangers to traverse the woods 
to the northward and eastward. Moved by this appeal, 
resolutions were passed directing the employment of one 
hundred rangers, one-half of whom were to be stationed 
upon the east, and the other upon the west side of the 
river in the county of Albany. Supplies were also voted 
for victualling the levies for the term of three months 
beyond the twenty-fourth of May. But the house at the 
same time reaffirmed its declaration of the preceding 
November, that it would make no provision for the trans- 
portation of any supplies beyond Albany. In regard to 
his excellency's proposed conference with the Indians, it 
farther manifested its temper by voting the beggarly allow- 
ance of one hundred and fifty pounds. Nor was this all. 
After passing the bill in form, pursuant to the resolutions, 



264 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BAET. 

chap, and before it had received the assent of the representative 
*— v— ' of the crown, the assembly adopted yet another resolution 
1/4/ - setting forth that the levies then in service, so long main- 
tained at very great expense, had thus far been unemployed, 
and praying that the hundred men authorized in compli- 
ance with the Kinderhook memorial, should be detached 
from those levies — from the little army destined against 
Canada ! The pay proposed in the bill was one shilling per 
diem, over and above the wages allowed and paid by the 
crown. Eight days afterward, the governor not yet having 
approved the bill, the assembly, availing itself of a memo- 
rial from Albany giving a melancholy representation of 
the suffering and defenceless situation of that country, as 
if purposely to chafe his excellency by farther insult, sent 
up an address of affected tenderness and solicitude for the 
condition of the frontier settlers, and praying him no longer 
to withhold his assent from the measure they had been so 
prompt to enact. 

In his reply to this address, the governor went into a full 
and elaborate vindication of his conduct during the last 
eventful year of his administration, — rehearsing his labors 
and exertions in the public service, for which he had been 
so unworthily requited. In regard to the bill presented for 
his approbation, his excellency said he looked upon the 
allowance of the extra shilling per diem, as altogether 
inadequate, considering the character and severity of the 
service, the extra expenses to which the rangers were sub- 
ject by the wear and tear of their clothes when plunging 
into morasses, climbing mountains, or threading the deep- 
tangled woods. He denied that the levies had been inac- 
tive, and gave an account of the dispositions that had been 
made of them. The invasion of Canada having been 
necessarily deferred, the next object of the executive had 
been to make an advanced movement in that direction, for 
the purpose of forming a winter encampment at the carry- 
ing-place, and for the construction of fortifications at the 
heads of the two lakes, Champlain and St. Sacrament, — 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 265 

measures of the first importance, and of the greatest effi- chap. 
eiency in affording protection to the frontiers against the *—Js 
predatory bands so frequently issuing from Crown Point. 1747 - 
But his purposes had been frustrated by the conduct of the 
assembly respecting the provisions at Albany; and also by 
reason of a waste of time, the consequence of which was, 
that the levies, instead of advancing to the designated 
point, had been compelled to halt and winter at Saratoga, 
— an ill-chosen and unsafe locality for a military position. 
In all these proceedings his excellency said he had had the 
concurrence of Governor Shirley, as well as of the other 
colonies uniting in the prosecution of the war. They had 
all evinced a willingness to share the expense, but in the 
expectation, of course, that as New York was the most 
immediately interested in the result of the contest, she 
would set a cheerful example in meeting the exigency. 
After reciting various measures that had been adopted for 
the common security, his excellency intimated that points 
other than those enumerated, would have been occupied 
and fortified, but for the obstinate refusal of the assembly 
to appropriate even the sums necessary for their own safety. 
He upbraided them for the disrespect with which they had 
treated his speech at the opening of the session, although 
in the preparation of that speech he had carefully avoided 
everything which he supposed could have a tendency to 
revive the unpleasant difficulties of the former session. 
Referring to the many difficulties he had been obliged to 
encounter, especially at Albany, he did not conceal his 
belief that they had been fomented by the opulent traders 
of that city, who had grown rich by their trade with Cana- 
da, and who were desirous of preserving the neutrality of 
the Six Nations. He likewise intimated a suspicion that 
there were Roman Catholic emissaries in the colony, — art- 
ful and cunning men, — engaged in treasonable practices, — 
" dangerous instruments for the destruction of the religion 
and liberty of the land." In conclusion he said, that not- 
withstanding the opposition they had made to his mea- 

34 



266 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, sures, there was nothing in his power which he would not 
w^ cheerfully do " for the security of the frontiers, and topre- 
l?4?' serve the inhabitants from the incursions of a cruel and 
barbarous enemy." 

On the subject of the suspected disloyalty of some of 
the people of Albany, to which reference had been made 
in the message, — charging them in effect with leaguing with 
the enemy to obstruct the operations against Canada, the 
governor wrote to Colonel Johnson as follows : 

Governor Clinton to Colonel Johnson. 

"New York, April 25th, 1747. 
"Sir: 

"You will find by a paragraph of a message I sent to 
the assembly yesterday, that I have taken notice of the 
endeavors which I suspect some people of Albany have 
used for to obtain a kind of neutrality between them and 
Canada. 

" You told me of some private messages you heard had 
been sent by Indians for the purpose. Send me a particu- 
lar account of what you know and have heard on that sub- 
ject, and of what you can now, or at any time after this, 
learn by farther inquiry. I expect you will use all the 
diligence possible to discover every part of this scheme, 
and in what manner it has been carried on. I long much 
to hear from you, for we have most villainous reports 
spread. I hope the Indians all remain steadfast and in 
good health. 

"In the bill I am going to pass, the council did not think 
it proper to put rewards for scalping or taking poor women 
or children prisoners in it ; but the assembly has assured 
me the money shall be paid when it so happens, if the 
Indians insist upon it. 

" I am, Sir, 

"Your very humble serv't, 

" G. Clinton." 
" To Colonel Johnson." 




GOVERNOR GEORGE CLINTON. 










LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 267 

Those portions of the message alledging that the house chap. 
had treated his excellency with disrespect, and charging it ^^ 
with neglecting to provide for the safety of the colony, as 1747. 
also the paragraph containing the imputation upon the 
Albany traders, were received with high displeasure, — real 
or affected, — and a committee was appointed by resolution 
with instructions to prepare an answer. 1 The appointment 
of this committee was made on the twenty-fourth of April ; 
and for several days immediately subsequent, the assembly 
met but only to adjourn, without proceeding to business. 
At length, in order to give the members time to abate their 
choler, the house was adjourned from the second of May 
to the twelfth, and again to the nineteenth.of May. 

While these disputes between the executive and his 
assembly were in progress in the city of New York, affairs 
at the north were in a sad condition. The levies who had 
been kept in service during the winter, clamorous for their 
pay, were almost in a state of mutiny. The officers wrote 
from Saratoga that they were fearful the garrison would 
desert in a body. Colonel Roberts wrote to colonel John- 
son, announcing the desertion of thirty-four men from a 
single company ; the garrison at Saratoga had become so 
much weakened, as to create apprehensions that the post 
would be lost ; while the officers wrote to the governor 
from Albany, that they could not persuade the designated 
quotas of the northern militia companies to march for the 
defence of that jeoparded position. During the months of 
April and May, the communications spread before the 
executive council upon the subject, were of the most urgent 

1 The gentlemen forming this committee were, David Clarkson, Cornelius 
Van Home, Paul Richard, Henry Cruger, Frederick Phillipse, John Thomas, 
Lewis Morris, David Pierson, and William Nicholl Smith, in a note, suggests 
that the reflection upon the Albany traders, was intended by the governor 
as a cut at DeLancey, whose father, many years before, during the admin- 
istration of Governor Burnett, had been largely benefitted by the Indian 
trade with Canada through Lake Champlain. But Clinton's private letter 
to Johnson, now first brought to light, shows that he was acting in perfect 
good faith — having reason to believe the imputation just. 



268 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

°vn. P ' character. Funds for the payment of the troops in part, 
' — * — ' were remitted ; but partial payments by no means sufficed ; 
the discontents became more impatient ; and on the thirty- 
first of May, a dispatch was received from Colonel Roberts, 
announcing that the levies upon all the frontier stations 
had united in a solemn resolution that unless their whole 
pay should be immediately forthcoming, they would desert 
en masse, and pay themselves by the plunder of the city and 
county of Albany. Additional remittances were made with 
all possible alacrity ; but Mr. Clinton nevertheless cautioned 
the officers against paying at once all that was due, lest from 
the prevailing spirit of insubordination they might still 
desert the moment their pockets should be filled. Not long 
before this, two Mohawk Indians had been discovered in 
an attempt to kill and scalp some of Captain Tiebout's 
company, stationed at Schenectady. They were lying in 
wait for that object, and had wounded one man. Roberts 
wrote to Johnson upon the matter, and as the offenders 
had been secured, the latter advised that they should be 
surrendered to their own people for punishment. * 

The committee charged with the preparation of an 
address to the governor, made their report on the nineteenth 
of May. It was very long, extending to nearly eight large 
folio printed pages ; and as it was read to the house^ 
approved, engrossed, and presented to his excellency all 
on the same afternoon, it must have been evident that its 
terms, even to a letter, had been previously settled by what 
is in modern times designated a caucus, and the labor of 
engrossing performed in anticipation. The spirit of the 
address was very bitter, though sweetened by terms of ill- 
dissembled courtesy. They protested with the utmost 
gravity that it had been far from the intention of the house 
to give his excellency the least occasion of offence by their 
former resolutions. The suggestion for the employment of 
one hundred men to be taken from the levies as rangers, 
had been made, they averred, in compliance with applica- 

1 Journals of the council board. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BAHT. 269 

tions to that effect from the people of Albany ; and a pre- C y„ p " 

cedent for the adoption of that course had been found in '— v— ' 

1747 
the course of his excellency's own proceedings at Albany 

the year before. By the remark that " the levies had hith- 
erto been unemployed," they meant no more than to say 
what was known to all, that they had not been employed 
in the Canada expedition. They were "much concerned 
that this misconstruction of their innocent intentions," 
should have induced his excellency to give so full a history 
as he had done, of his conduct in defence of the country 
during the preceding year, since in doing so he "had taken 
the trouble of relating many particulars well known before." 
They acknowledged the importance of preserving the 
friendship of the Six Nations, and rehearsed their own 
proceedings to that end during the entire period of his 
administration. It was admitted that the crown had 
defrayed the charges of the great council at Albany of the 
preceding year ; but for the expenses of the council of the 
year before that, they had voted one thousand pounds, 
besides appropriations for his excellency's own personal 
expenses ; and they intimated an opinion that while they 
had not been informed what sums had been actually dis- 
bursed for presents to the Indians, there were not wanting 
individuals who had profited largely in that branch of 
the service. Yet, notwithstanding all the expenditures 
upon the Indians, and the pains that had been taken to 
secure their friendship, they had not joined in the war to 
any considerable extent. In regard to the governor him- 
self, they had received him with distinguished considera- 
tion on his arrival ; and in consequence of the efforts he 
was understood to have made in behalf of the colony before 
his embarkation for his government, they had voted him a 
gratuity of a thousand pounds, and had moreover, ill as 
the colony could bear the expense, caused a new and ele- 
gant house to be built for his residence, in conformity to 
his own plans, besides raising as much for his support as 
had been allowed to any of his predecessors. In reviewing 



270 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

c vnf' ^ ne ey e n ts of the war and their own acts for sustaining the 
"— v— ' public service, they recurred to the destruction of Saratoga, 

1747 

two years before, as an event that might not have happened 
but for the withdrawing of the independent companies 
from that post. Afterward, at the governor's request, they 
had appropriated money for rebuilding that fort, which was 
done, and the works garrisoned by the militia, at the expense 
of the colony. In addition to this they had also at the 
governor's request, made appropriations for building other 
forts to guard the frontier passes. Yet again, the plan of 
defence having been changed, they had voted money for 
building a chain of block-houses from the New England 
border to the castles of the Mohawks ; but this plan being 
in turn abandoned, the money was diverted to the payment 
and subsistence of detachments of the militia posted upon 
the frontiers by the governor during the recess of the 
assembly. They admitted the importance of guarding the 
passes of the great carrying-place by suitable fortifications, 
but shrunk from the expense, both for the building, and for 
the maintenance of garrisons. The other exposed colonies 
had an equal interest with New York in building and sus- 
taining those defences, and they thought the expense should 
be shared among them, — intimating a doubt, however, not- 
withstanding the assurances of his excellency upon that 
point, whether the colonies referred to would in fact be 
willing to bear a portion of the burden. Touching his 
excellency's complaint that his projected northern encamp- 
ment had been frustrated, and the division of levies des- 
tined upon that service compelled by the climate to fall back 
upon Saratoga for winter quarters, knowing the severity 
of that climate as they did, they had anticipated as much ; 
and as to the unsuitableness of the locality, as now averred 
by his excellency, it had at least been rebuilt there by his 
own directions. His excellency's reference to the difficulties 
at Albany, the previous autumn, in regard to the delivery 
and transportation of provisions, whereby as wa3 alleged, 
his plans had been defeated, was tartly answered. "If," 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 271 

they said, "your excellency means thereby the refusal of chap. 
" the commissioners to deliver the provisions contrary to ^-v— - 
" the law you were pleased to pass but a little before, the 1747# 
" house had occasion to give your excellency their thoughts 
" upon it in their resolves of the seventeenth of November 
"last, which were by order of the house laid before your 
" excellency, to which we beg leave to refer." Rehearsing, 
next, in reply to the charge of the governor that they had 
not shown a disposition even "to take care of themselves," 
they pointed to the previous measures they had adopted for 
the public defence, and the appropriations, among which 
was one of forty thousand pounds for the northern expe- 
dition, as irrefragable proofs of the reality and sincerity of 
their intentions, — suggesting that if his excellency, on cool 
reflection did not think them so, " they must be so unhappy 
" as to despair of giving him satisfaction on that head." 
They said the appropriations they had made of nine pounds 
per man for the enlistment of sixteen companies of one 
hundred men each, and the provisioning of those compa- 
nies, were nearly exhausted; and they intimated a belief 
that in the erection of fortifications, great waste had been 
indulged, and much needless expense incurred for the want 
of competent engineers. Whenever they should have rea- 
son to believe that their money would not be advanced in 
vain for this department of the public service, and when- 
ever they should have an earnest that the other colonies 
were prepared to cooperate in the work of mutual protec- 
tion, they would be found ready to vote for such additional 
fortifications as might be judged necessary. In regard to 
the statement in the governor's opening speech, that an 
agreement had been made with the commissioners of Mas- 
sachusetts for building the two forts so often recommended, 
at the passes of the carrying-place, and also in respect to 
the forces to be raised by the several colonies expected to 
cooperate in the Canadian invasion, and the rates of expense 
for each, the assembly was surprised, inasmuch as the 
governor had but three members of his council with him, 



272 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, while Massachusetts alone of the other colonies was repre- 
^s—< sented at the conference, that his excellency should have 
1747 - entered upon any such agreement. Moreover as they were 
in the daily expectation of advices from England, hoping 
withal for the speedy arrival of experienced officers, they 
trusted his excellency would excuse the house for its opinion, 
" that they could not in conscience provide for schemes the 
" execution of which would be very hazardous, and put 
"the colony to great expense." They told the governor 
plainly, that " ever since he had thought fit to place his 
confidence in a person obnoxious to, and censured by the 
house, the public affairs had been much perplexed, and had 
not been attended with the steadiness and good conduct 
which their importance required. They attributed several 
of his excellency's late speeches to that person, declaring 
that until the day when he was taken into favor the utmost 
harmony had existed between all the branches of the gov- 
ernment. These thrusts were aimed at Doctor Colden, the 
lance having been barbed by DeLancey, the master-spirit 
in fomenting these dissensions. Respecting the charges 
against the people of Albany, entire disbelief in the justice 
of the imputation was expressed, — the mind of his excel- 
lency having probably been poisoned upon that subject by 
the individual to whom reference had already been made 
as an abuser of his confidence. If the people of Albany 
were indeed engaged in treasonable practices, they mar- 
velled that none of them had been arrested and brought 
to trial. In answer to his excellency's apprehension that 
Popish emissaries had been engaged in sowing dissensions 
and kindling every spark of discontent, the house seized 
upon the suggestion and applied it to a person then in great 
favor with Mr. Clinton in the Indian service — Mr. John 
Henry Lydius, son of a former Dutch minister in Albany, 
and of course bred a Protestant ; who had resided several 
years in Canada; married a wife there of the Romish 
church, after having abjured his own religion ; and whom 
they declared to be a person of desperate fortunes. They 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 273 

admitted tlie great skill of this man " in all the weaknesses chap. 
& vu. 

of human nature, but wondered how he could have secured <— Y —' 
his excellency's favor. To him, and h is intrigues in Albany, 1747 - 
and among the Indians, the assembly attributed many of 
the difficulties that had arisen. He had been the means of 
undermining the influence of the Indian commissioners, 
and distracting the affairs of that department. They never- 
theless admitted that there might possibly be some Popish 
emissaries in the province ; but at the same time there was 
equal reason to believe that there were other men screen- 
ing themselves behind the curtain, and answering all the 
ends of such emissaries, — men of wrong heads and worse 
hearts, who were doing infinite evil by infusing groundless 
jealousies into his excellency's mind. They next told the 
governor that although they were not disposed to listen to 
every idle tale, yet they had hoped that before that period 
the report might have reached his ears that there had been 
a large embezzlement of the funds appropriated for Indian 
presents in 1745, — one thousand pounds having been voted, 
while not more than three hundred pounds worth of goods 
had reached the hands of those for whom they were de- 
signed. So at least it was said by persons who saw the 
goods delivered. They also informed the governor, — for 
the benovolent purpose of enabling him to bring the 
authors of the scandal to justice, — that a report was cur- 
rent to the effect that French and Spanish prisoners had 
been sold under the authority of his name, for a pistole 
a head, to owners and captains of flags of truce. The con- 
cluding paragraph contained another pungent reference to 
Doctor Colden, whose designing artifices and private yiews, 
" although they had hitherto been providentially blasted, 
" it was still feared might at length spring up again, and 
"bear a greater increase, which God forbid." 

Mr. Clinton's reply to the address, which was presented 
on the twenty-sixth of May, was brief and emphatic. He 
remarked upon the rapidity with which the address had 
been hurried through the house,— two hours only having 

35 



274 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, elapsed from the time when it was reported by the commit- 
v-^ — - tee until its presentation all engrossed ! " You shall have," 
1747. a sa j^ the governor, " the best answer to this representation 
" you can expect. I shall take all possible care that it be 
"laid before his majesty and his ministers, who are the 
" proper judges of my conduct. I doubt not that the min- 
istry will discern with what spirit it is made, and for what 
"purposes." Commanding an adjournment for a week, 
the indomitable sailor-governor then dismissed his refrac- 
tory little parliament. 

Reassembling on the second of June, they were met by 
an executive message calling their attention to the distrac- 
tions prevailing among the levies at the north, for want of 
their pay. The governor informed them that thus far these 
levies had been paid by the crown, he himself having pro- 
vided the means by drawing bills of exchange. The 
amount thus drawn was then nine thousand pounds, the 
whole of which he declared should be applied to the pay- 
ment of the new levies. Although these bills had all been 
drawn by the advice of his council, yet his excellency began 
to fear, or pretended to fear, that they might not all be 
honored, in which event his private fortune might be 
involved. Though willing to draw yet farther for that 
object, yet he was not willing to jeopard his own estate, — 
believing, as he did, that every man in the province was as 
much bound as himself to contribute from his private 
means for the safety of the people. Indemnification against 
the consequences of a protest of his bills, should he be 
requiredto draw anymore of them, was therefore demanded 
in justice to his own family. 

The house, in answer, referred to a letter from the duke 
of Newcastle of April, 1746, authorizing the necessary pre- 
parations for the long-projected expedition, with an asr 
surance that the forces to be raised, officers as well as rank 
and file, should be taken into his majesty's pay. It was 
therefore clearly not intended by the crown that the pay- 
ment of these forces should in any event be devolved upon 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 275 

the people of the colony ; and the refusal of the governor C yn. p ' 
to continue his drafts would imply a distrust of the king, •*= v~ t 
and render himself personally answerable for the lives and 
estates of his subjects. Entertaining these views, the 
assembly peremptorily refused the act of guaranty, — 
declaring at the same time that as his excellency had the 
means of paying the forces in his own hands, should he 
refuse to use them, and should the lives and estates of the 
people be endangered by the threatened desertion of the 
levies, "his excellency alone would be to blame." 

From the fourth of June to the same day of August, the 
assembly only met to adjourn. Meantime the governor 
replenished his exchequer by the usual resort to bills of 
exchange, and on the nineteenth of June embarked for 
Albany, in order, if possible, to put an end to the troubles 
with the levies. 

I must not lose sight of Sir Peter Warren, whose name, 
as an adopted citizen of New York, belongs to its history. 
Prance, smarting under the loss of Cape Breton, and mor- 
tified at the disastrous failure of D'Anville's armada, 
determined again to put forth her energies for the recovery 
of Louisburg, and the resuscitation of her naval character 
— of late so deeply compromised. To these ends, there- 
fore, another fleet was equipped, at Brest, destined against 
Louisburg early in the spring, under the command of M. 
de la Jonquiere. The duty of watching the motions, and, 
if possible, of intercepting this fleet, was assigned to Vice 
Admiral Anson, — a widely different man from Admiral 
Lestock, whose equivocal conduct, on the French coast, 
when engaged in the like service, has already been recorded. 
It has already been said that Sir Peter Warren returned to 
England in the autumn of 1746. In the beginning of the 
year following he was appointed second in command under 
Mr. Anson, hoisting his pennant on board the Devonshire, 
of sixty-six guns. The Brest fleet, uniting a large convoy 
of Indiamen, and numbering, in all, thirty-eight ships, pro- 



276 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

°vuf • ceeded to sea about the last of April. It was fallen in with 
'— y— ' by Admiral Anson, on the third of May, off Cape Finis- 
terre. When descried, nine of the ships, — men of war> 
mounting from eighteen to seventy-four guns, — were short- 
ening sail and drawing into a line of battle, while the 
remainder of the fleet, consisting of the vessels under con- 
voy, stretched to the west with all the sails they could set. 
Anson immediately formed his fleet into a line ; but ob- 
serving by the manoeuvres of the enemy that his object was 
to gain time, for the purpose, probably, of escaping under 
favor of the night, then approaching, he made signal for 
the whole fleet to close and engage the enemy, without any 
regard to the line of battle. 1 In the course of the action 
that ensued^ Warren had an opportunity which he failed 
not to improve, of signalizing and covering himself with 
glory. He ran his ship, the Devonshire, up with Le Serieux y 
the flag-ship of M. de la Jonquiere, and after receiving his 
fire, which was well-directed, closed within pistol-shot, and 
continued to engage in the most daring and brilliant style, 
until the enemy struck. Having silenced his antagonist, 
Warren proceeded next to encounter the Invincible, sev- 
enty-four, commanded by M. de St. George, the second 
officer of the enemy's squadron. Being seconded by the 
Bristol, Captain Montague, the Invincible was in a short 
time dismasted and taken by Warren. The general action 
was short and brilliant, resulting in the capture of the 
whole French squadron, consisting of six ships of two 
decks, including the Grloire, of forty-four guns, and four 
frigates. 2 It is true that Anson's fleet was greatly superior 
in the appointment of ships and guns. Three of his ships, 
however, participated in the action but a very few moments, 
— having been detached as soon as the Frenchmen were so 
far crippled as probably to render them unable to get away, 
with all the sail they could press, after the enemy's flying 
Indiamen. 3 The loss of the English was not severe, — Cap- 

1 Admiralty official report, May 16, 1747. 

2 Charnock. 

3 Admiralty report. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, LAHT. 

tain Grenville beino; the only officer of note who was killed, chap. 
The French were greater sufferers, — M. de la Jonquiere w y— . 
himself was shot under the blade bones of both his 17i7 - 
shoulders, but the wounds were not mortal. In the month 
of July following this memorable engagement, being 
stationed with a squadron off Cape Finisterre, Sir Peter 
fell in with four valuable merchant ships of the enemy 
convoyed by two men of war, which ran into a bay on the 
island of Sisarga, and being closely pursued they all ran 
on shore. One of the men of war, mounting forty-four 
guns, was fired by the crew and blown up before Warren's 
boats could board her ; but the merchantmen were all got 
off and brought into Plymouth the next day, being the 
twenty-second of July. Warren was now floating in the 
tide of fortune, for very shortly after taking these noble 
prizes at Sisarga, he fell in with and captured a considera- 
ble fleet of French West Indiamen. According to one 
account, this fleet consisted of a very large number of ships,' 
though Charnock, in his biography of Warren, makes no 
mention of this affair. 1 Sir Peter's gallantry on these 
occasions, was rewarded by his farther promotion to the 
rank of admiral of the white. He sailed again from Spit- 
head on a cruise, on the second of September, but falling 
sick was compelled to relinquish his command and go on 
shore. But glory had not been the only reward of his 
splendid career. The number of his captures had produced 
an ample fortune, which he invested in part, by purchasing 
a country-seat in Westbury, Hampshire county, to which 
he now retired. His circumstances must indeed have been 
affluent. At least so thought some of his relatives, as 
appears from the following extract from a letter from his 
nephew, Captain Warren Johnson, to his brother the colonel. 
This letter also corroborates the preceding account of the 
last great capture of West India merchantmen, not men- 
tioned by Charnock : 

1 Gentleman's Magazine. 



278 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Captain Warren Johnson to his Brother. 



1747. 



" New York, September 13, 1747. 
"Dear Brother: 

" Last evening I arrived here from Louisburg, in order to 
go to England in the Scarborough man of war. 

" I make no doubt you have heard of my uncle Warren's 
great success in his two cruises, the first with Admiral 
Anson, and the second with a squadron of which he was 
commander-in-chief — part of which fell in with the St. 
Domingo fleet, and took sixty-two sail of them. He had 
taken several rich ships before. He must now be one of 
the richest men in England, and not one has done his 
country so much service. He must be worth three or four 
hundred thousand pounds sterling. He is now vice admiral 
of the white, and a member of parliament from "Westmin- 
ster, and I have no doubt in a very short time he will be a 
peer of England, there being no person better able to main- 
tain that dignity. 

" Your most affectionate Brother, 

"Warren Johnson." 
" Colonel Johnson." 

In the autumn of this year, Sir Peter was returned to 
parliament. He was likewise at about the same time pre- 
sented with a large silver monteth, of curious workmanship, 
by the inhabitants of Barbadoes, in acknowledgment of 
his services in the cruise of that season. 1 The exultation 
of Sir Peter's relatives at his good fortune, was justifiable, 
for they had been bravely won. 



1 Gentleman's Magazine. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

1747. 

Governor Clinton, who, as already observed in the last c $£f ' 
chapter, had departed for Albany on the nineteenth of "—v— ' 
June, did not leave an hour too early, for the military affairs 
in that quarter were in a deplorable condition. Instead of 
increasing them, for the purpose of offensive operations, 
the forces were diminished by sickness and desertion, and 
the thousand mischances incident to an army of irregulars 
kept in the field contrary to their own inclinations. In 
such numbers did they desert, that a party of thirty-eight 
in a body were fired upon by the officers at ^Esopus, and 
retaken, — two of them being wounded. They were 
marched back to Albany. x The road from Mount Johnson 
to Oswego, was infested by the enemy ; murders were com- 
mitted at Burnetsfield ; 2 so that Colonel Johnson could 
not forward supplies without a strong guard, thus materially 
enhancing the expense of executing his contract for that 
post ; 3 while in addition to all, as if grown weary of await- 
ing an invasion at Crown Point, the French, with their 
Indians, were again showing themselves in formidable num- 
bers in the vicinity of Saratoga. Colonel Johnson was 
advised, on the sixteenth of June, by the return of an 
unsuccessful war-party of the Schoharies, 4 of the approach 
upon Lake Champlain, of a fleet of three hundred canoes, 
and admonished to be on his guard against a surprise. 5 Im- 

1 Manuscript letter: John H. Lydius to Colonel Johnson. 

2 The present village of Herkimer. 

3 Manuscript Letter : Johnson to Clinton. 
*A clan of the Mohawks. 

6 Manuscript Letter : Lydius to Johnson. 



280 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, mediately on the arrival of this intelligence at Saratoga, 
«— v — > Captain Chew was ordered forth with a detachment of one 
1747 - hundred men to reconnoitre the country between that post 
and the head of Lake Champlain. Falling in with the 
enemy on the nineteenth of June, an action ensued in which 
fifteen of his men were killed, and forty-seven more, with 
himself, taken prisoners. The detachment encountered 
by Chew was commanded by M. Lacose, who immediately 
fell back upon a much larger force, occupying the path of 
communication between the Hudson and the lake. But 
Lacose did not fall back without leaving a detachment of 
three hundred men, under M. Laquel, to lurk about Sara- 
toga, and cut off approaching supplies. According to the 
representation of one of the enemy's Indians, who deserted 
and came into Saratoga, the main force of the French at 
the carrying-place consisted of twelve companies. The 
Indian informed farther, that Lacose was to advance again 
immediately with artillery and mining tools, to lay seige to 
the fort. Meantime the three hundred who had been left 
in the environs of the fort, under M. Laquel, performed 
bold service by appearing openly and attempting to fire a 
block-house, used, as they supposed, as a magazine, by 
shooting burning arrows against its walls. " The person 
"appointed to perform this duty," said the commander of 
the fort in a letter written to Colonel Johnson, "had a 
" blanket carried before him that he might not discover the 
" fire upon the points of the arrows. 1 " The main body of 
the enemy soon moved down to Fish Creek, a few miles 
north of Saratoga, and a detachment of his troops was thrown 
between that post and Albany. Colonel Schuyler imme- 
diately marched with his regiment, and such other forces 
as he could raise on the instant, to meet the invader ; who, 
however, though greatly superior in numbers, retired at 
his approach and fell back to Crown Point. 

The Indian allies of the English were again becoming 

1 Letter to Colonel Johnson, copied in his own hand, but the signature of 
which is omitted. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 281 

much dissatisfied with the languor pervadine; the service, chap. 

& l 6 VIII . 

After having, though with great reluctance, been incited to s— v— - 
engage in the war, they were desirous of seeing it prose- 1747 - 
cuted with vigor. A number of their chiefs now met 
Colonel Schuyler and complained bitterly of the continued 
and most discouraging delays. They had been chiefly 
induced to take the war-path against the French by the 
extraordinary preparations they had marked as in progress 
for the invasion, and they had not themselves been back- 
ward in annoying the enemy ; but as they were convinced 
from the present inactivity of the English, that the design 
of an invasion must have been laid aside, — a conviction 
strengthened by the daily and rapid decrease of the new 
levies, — they said they should be necessitated to make peace 
with the French for themselves, on the best terms they 
could. Still, if the English would immediately march 
against Crown Point, they would cheerfully assist them 
with one thousand of their best warriors. * 

I have found no record of Mr. Clinton's doings at Albany 
during this visit, save a single sentence in a letter written 
by him to the duke of Newcastle upon his return to the 
city, to the effect that while at Albany, he had prevailed 
upon two powerful Indian natives — formerly in the French 
interest — to join the English. The visit, however, was 
probably a short one, since he was at the council board 
again in July. But from the letters of Colonel Johnson it 
appears that he met the governor and concerted arrange- 
ments for relieving Oswego, — Lieutenant Visscher having 
been dispatched thither with a cargo of goods, provisions, 
and ammunition. 

Meantime notwithstanding the loss of so great a portion 
of the open season, and the utter neglect of the contest by 
the ministers, so far at least as the colonies were concerned, 
Governor Shirley was pushing his design of an attack upon 
Crown Point, with all the zeal and energy of his character, 
and all the means at his command. There could be no 

1 Gentleman's Magazine, September, 1747. 
36 



282 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

C viil P ' security for the frontiers either of New York or New Eng- 

v — v — ' land from the devastations of the enemy, until Crown Point, 

1747 

' the grand rendezvous of the numerous war-parties con- 
tinually harrassing the border, should be wrested from him ; 
and in order to unity of action, and the organization and 
concentration of a force adequate to the undertaking, Shir- 
ley wrote to Clinton in July, proposing a congress of the 
colonies from New Hampshire to Virginia, both inclusive, 
to consult for the common defence, and render their efforts 
for the prosecution of the war more effective. He informed 
Mr. Clinton that he had summoned a meeting of the Mas- 
sachusetts legislature to consider the subject, and he urged 
a similar course upon New York. He said he had made 
like communications to the colonies included in the pro- 
ject, urging them all to cooperate, — Massachusetts, at all 
events, being determined to exert her utmost power in the 
enterprise. He was very anxious that the Six Nations 
should be persuaded to greater exertions than they had 
hitherto made ; and for the better security of the north- 
western settlements of Massachusetts, he asked that one 
hundred rangers might be employed by New York between 
Saratoga and the New England border. 1 

The general assembly of New York came together again 
for the transaction of business on the fourth of August, 
when Shirley's letter was laid before them by the governor, 
accompanied by a message informing them that by the 
advice of his council he had acceded to the proposal con- 
tained in that letter, and that the forces of the province 
were to be put into action in conjunction with those of 
Massachusetts and Connecticut. The season for offensive 
operations, however, was already too far advanced to allow 
of a meeting of commissioners to make estimates of the 
expense, and to adjust the proportions which each colony 
respectively should bear. But on a rough calculation it 
was thought that fourteen thousand pounds would cover 
the charges of the intended movement, and his excellency 

} See Shirley's letter in the minutes of the council board. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 283 

trusted that neither of the colonies would be backward in c "uf * 
meeting its just share of the amount. Indeed, he thought v — v— ' 
New York might venture to assume more than its quota, ' 
both Massachusetts and Connecticut having advanced con- 
siderable sums to stimulate the Six Nations in continuing 
their incursions against the enemy. The governor said he 
had received the renewed assurances of the good feelings 
of the Six Nations, with pledges of their most vigorous 
assistance ; and he had likewise reason to expect the aid 
of several more distant tribes, heretofore in the interests 
of the French. He would bring no other subject to the 
attention of the assembly then, wishing their immediate 
action upon this important matter, that he might communi- 
cate their determination to the other governments forth- 
with, and thus prevent further loss of time. 

The message was not met in a corresponding spirit by 
the assembly, but on the contrary, the first action was the 
adoption of a series of resolutions insulting the governor, 
and evasive as to the object specially pressed upon their 
consideration. They cautiously declared their willingness 
to come into any "well-concerted" scheme for annoying 
the common enemy, but they would not consent to raise 
moneys upon the "pretence" contained in the message, 
without a better knowledge of the "grounds" and "rea- 
sons." They doubted whether Massachusetts and Con- 
necticut had ever contributed any " considerable sums" for 
the Indian service, and even if they had done so, New York 
had paid more than both of them put together, — adding to 
the sentence the significant insinuation — " and his excel- 
lency knows how these sums have been applied." Still, 
for the promotion of any "well concerted scheme" against 
the enemy by the three colonies named in the message, 
they would consent to bear one-third of the expense ; 
believing, however, that the other colonies, not mentioned, 
ought to contribute to the cause. These negative resolves 
were adopted on the sixth of August. From that da}* until 
the thirty-first, not the least attention was paid by the 



284 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

C vra P ' assem D ty to the state of the colony, — its time being occu- 
v-v-^ pied upon bills of comparatively trifling moment, such as 
for farming out the excise,— for raising a farther sum by 
lottery toward founding a college, — and for the examina- 
tion of the public accounts for the year 1713 ; for prevent- 
ing desertions from the forces, &c, &c. 

But if the assembly was idle, the enemy was not, and the 
people of the northern settlements, even of Albany itself, 
were in a high state of alarm, and that not without reason. 
Parties of the enemy had penetrated south of the Mohawk? 
into the valley of the Schohariekil, where a number of 
men had been killed and scalped. Saratoga was also once 
more nearly if not quite surrounded by the foeman, and 
several persons had likewise been killed in that vicinity. 
How Colonel Johnson was engaged at this time, will appear 
by the following extracts from a letter addressed by him to 
the governor': 

Colonel Johnson to Governor Clinton. 

" Mount Johnson, August 13, 1747. 
" May it please your excellency : 

" I enclose the message sent by the ISTew England Indians 
to their uncles, the Mohawks, and their answer to it, by 
which all people may see that the Indians are in earnest, 
and resolved to proceed in the war. I this day had an 
account by an Indian express from Oswego, that there were 
a great number of Senecas, and some of the foreign Indians 
with them, (called the Flat Heads,) coming down to me 
with several belts of wampum, — one whereof is a vast large 
one, — almost like the one your excellency gave the Six 
Nations last summer, — which belt must purport a great deal 
of news. I expect them here in two days, and am making 
everything ready for their reception. As soon as I have 
heard the news, and have done with them, I shall let your 
excellency know the purport. 

********** 

" I spoke to your excellency when in Albany, about neces- 
saries for the men destined for the Indian service, but find 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 285 

nothing done about it. I have not one pair of Indian shoes chap. 
& r via. 

for them, without which they cannot go through the woods. ■ — , — > 
I proposed doing great service with these men, and the 1747 - 
Indians together, but it seems I may not have the oppor- 
tunity ; for there is not even one of the companies which 
were ordered for that service moved up here yet, which 
makes the Indians think worse and worse of us, after 
assuring them they should be up very shortly. I lead a 
most miserable life among them at present, occasioned by 
so many disappointments. 

" There is one thing which I wish your excellency to 
consider of, which is my extraordinary expense in keeping 
several hands employed to attend the numbers of Indians 
I have daily had at my house these twelve months past ; as 
also of a clerk, who, with myself, has more work than men 
can well bear. This the country is very sensible of. So I 
shall leave it to your excellency's consideration what to do 
in it." 1 

On the twenty-fourth of August, information was received 
by the governor from Albany, that the forces stationed there 
had been withdrawn from the city, and posted on the east 
side of the Hudson, a mile below, by which movement the 
city was left defenceless, greatly exposed, and the people 
much alarmed. Several gentlemen from Albany were 
examined upon the subject before the legislative council, 
who confirmed the statement. It farther appeared that 
depredations had been committed by the enemy in the very 
precincts of Albany ; that there were not more than three 
hundred of its citizens, old and young, capable of bearing 
arms ; and that all were compelled, from the aged judge of 
the court to the stripling, to mount guard in turn each one 
every fourth night, — whereupon an address was presented 
to the governor praying that the levies at the north be 
ordered to move into the city and remain there for its pro- 

1 Manuscript Letter. 



1747, 



286 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, tection until otherwise directed. The cause of this move- 
.inent of the troops from Albany nowhere appears. It 
seems, however, to have been of a piece with the bustling, 
yet strangely inefficient conduct of the war in this quarter 
from the beginning. 

Impatient, and not without reason, at the inaction of the 
assemb]y, the governor sent them a message on the thirty- 
first of August, informing them explicitly that he would 
no longer furnish provisions for the four independent com- 
panies stationed at Albany, at the expense of the crown, 
nor for the levies from the southern counties, destined for 
the Canadian expedition. Neither would he draw any 
longer upon the crown for the support of the Indian depart- 
ment, although he could not disguise the fact that a failure 
of supplies for the Indian war-parties, might be followed 
by frightful consequences. He therefore requested a vote 
of supplies for those objects of the public service for two 
months, — by the end of which time he hoped to receive 
definite information as to his majesty's pleasure respecting 
the forces at Albany, and also to learn whether the neigh- 
boring colonies would contribute toward the defence of the 
country. He informed them that since the invasion of the 
enemy at Burnetsfield, Colonel Johnson could no longer 
supply the post at Oswego, save at double the former 
expense, nor even then unless furnished with a guard to 
escort the stores. A vote of supplies for this object, and 
also to defray the cost of transporting provisions to Sara- 
toga, was necessary, since these expenses could no longer 
be borne by the crown. Accompanying the message was 
an extract from a letter from Colonel Johnson, informing 
the governor that he was about to set out at the head of a 
considerable party of Christians and Indians in quest of a 
large body of the enemy and his allies who had been dis- 
covered between Saratoga and Crown Point. This letter 
was dated on the nin eteenth of August. Two days afterward 
another dispatch from the colonel, dated the twenty-eighth, 
was communicated to the assembly upon the same subject. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



287 



The assembly replied by resolutions declaring that neither chap. 
the crown nor the colony need be at the expense of sup- w^y 
porting the four companies of independent fusileers sta- 1 ' 4 '- 
tioned at Albany, they having always subsisted themselves, 
out of their own pay, save when detached to distant posts, 
as at Oswego, for example, in which cases the colony had 
always furnished the supplies, as of course they ought. 
The colony, it was said, had from time to time, and some- 
times even without his excellency's recommendation, pro- 
visioned the sixteen companies of one hundred levies each • 
and it appeared to the assembly unreasonable that they 
should be burdened with the farther expense of supporting 
the forces from the more southern colonies, which ought 
each to provide for their own. In regard to the Indian 
service, inasmuch as the crown had authorized the making 
of such presents to them in 1746, as would secure their 
hearty cooperation in the war, they urged that his excel- 
lency ought to continue drawing upon that source, for that 
object, at least until his majesty's pleasure should be sig- 
nified to the contrary, — hoping at the same time — for the 
house lost no opportunity of renewing, at least by impli- 
cation, the charge of a former embezzlement of Indian 
presents, — that his excellency had made such use of the 
means placed in his hands by the crown for that object, 
as had been for the advantage of his majesty's service. 
So of supplying Saratoga, as his excellency's bills for sup- 
plying that post had thus far been borne by the crown, he 
should continue to draw until instructed to the contrary. 
Respecting the hardship of Colonel Johnson's case, it was 
held that according to his excellency's own message of 
December second, 1746, that gentleman had contracted to 
supply the garrison at Oswego upon the same terms in war 
as in peace. No additional allowance ought therefore to 
be made to him for that service, even for defraying the 
expenses of guards, The pressure of the enemy upon the 
northern settlements, however, awakened the assembly to 
a partial sense of duty in the emergency ; and having thus 



288 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, cavalierly discussed those subjects of the message, it had 
v_^ — * the grace to resolve that provision ought to be made for 
1/47 - the pay and subsistence of three companies of rangers, of 
fifty men each, for the protection of the inhabitants against 
the skulking parties of the enemy, — one for the defence ot 
Albany, one for Schenectady, and one for Kinderhook. 
The feelings of Mr. Clinton in regard to these resolutions, 
may be inferred from the subjoined letter communicating 
a copy thereof to Colonel Johnson : It also shows the high 
estimate which Clinton placed upon the services which 
Johnson was then rendering to the country : 

Governor Clinton to Colonel Johnson. 

New York:, September 7, 1747. 
"Sir: 

My last letter to you was dated the twentieth of August. 
Soon after I received yours of the fourteenth, seventeenth, 
and nineteenth, acquainting me of your intention of going 
out with a party of Indians and Christians ; and very uneasy 
I have been ever since, afraid lest that letter should be the 
means of your laying aside such a glorious design, which 
must always redound to your honored reputation. You 
ought to receive the thanks of the whole province for what 
you have already done for it, but am sorry to say, instead 
of public thanks, you have the frowns of an inveterate 
assembly, as you will see by the inclosed resolves. But I 
hope you will receive thanks from their superiors. 

" I must now acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 
twenty-eighth of August, which I immediately communi- 
cated to the council and assembly, in hopes it would have 
touched their souls. l But notwithstanding it was delivered 
to them before their resolve about the provisions for 



1 Johnson was very careful in preserving the original draughts of his let- 
ters. But the letter we have spoken of, with many hundreds of others, has 
not survived the ravages of time and chance. According to the entry of 
its substance in the minutes o,f the council board, however, the force the 
colonel was now preparing to lead against the enemy, consisted of "four 
hundred Christians and about the same number of Iudians." 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 289 

Oswego, it had no effect on them. But I will venture to chap. 
say, that though these stubborn Dutchmen won't do you w v — < 
the justice they ought, yet when I represent to his majesty 1747 - 
the vast progress you have made, (beyond any reasonable 
expectation,) by your good management, and most extraor- 
dinary influence with the Indians, which you surprisingly 
cultivate continually, your conduct and behavior will be 
greatly approved by his majesty, and in such a manner as 
may show these wretches you have merited your royal 
master's favor, in a great measure preserving not only this 
but all the northern colonies from ruin. 

"I acquainted governor Shirley what you desired in 
relation to Lydius, who desired I would acquaint you he 
was sorry you had taken umbrage at Lydius's being con- 
cerned with you in what has been done by his government 
towards securing the Indians of the Six Nations in our 
interest. He would not have you imagine that himself, or 
any part of his government, puts Lydius's services in the 
least computation with your own, or that the Indians have 
been engaged in acts of hostility against the French, by 
any person's influence but your own, under my directions ; 
and your uncle Sir Peter, to whom his letters on that head, 
and the duke of Newcastle, have been shown, can inform 
you that he has done your merit all the justice in his power. 

" For my part I think this expedition you have now 
undertaken, to be of such infinite service to this and the 
neighboring colonies, that though I was determined to be 
at no more charges for the Indians at the expense of the 
crown, yet I can't avoid doing it again in justice to you 
and the brave Indians who are on this party with you ; for 
which reason, whatever goods and expense you are at, for 
satisfying the Indians, on your return I will give you my 
bills on the treasury therefor. But then I must desire you 
to give it out, (and to let nobody know to the contrary) 
that you take this expense upon yourself from the faith you 
have in the assembly, which can't refuse to pay you for 
37 



290 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

°viu P ' sery i ce that is so absolutely necessary for the safety of the 

^— v — ' people of this province. 

1747. it j wou i c [ send you up money, but as I writ you word in 
my letter of the twentieth, I could not get a farthing, on 
account of a man-of-war going to England. I should there- 
fore be glad if you would take bills for the account you 
sent me, and add this to it, your uncle can solicit it, and I 
promise to do all in my power, both with the duke of New- 
castle and Mr. Pelham, to get them immediately paid ; and 
I can assure you you may depend on Mr. Shirley's interest 
in it entirely. I think you had best come down, and we 
can together settle things to the satisfaction of both of us. 
" Commissioners are come from Boston to negotiate a 
scheme for securing the Indians and frontiers, and I expect 
others. l It will not be amiss to acquaint the Indians of 
it. I hope Mr. Shirley and I shall soon agree upon some- 
thing to keep the Indians steadfast in our interest. 

" You have several friends on the spot who heartily wish 
you well, and a great deal of success ; and I do assure you 
nobody does it more heartily than, dear sir, 

"Your faithful friend and serv't, 

G. Clinton. 

"P. S. I must caution you to be on your guard, for some 
people who ought to bear a greater regard for you than 
they ever showed, considering the alliance between them 
and Sir Peter, have some designs not to save you, take my 
word, but themselves. I wait with great impatience to 
hear from you. 2 
" Colonel Johnson." 

1 These commissioners were Samuel Wells, Robert. Hale, and Oliver Part- 
ridge. Shirley's letter announcing their appointment, was received and 
laid before Governor Clinton's council on the fourth of September. On the 
eleventh, Roger Wolcott, Thomas Fitch, and Benjamin Hall, were announced 
as the commissioners from Connecticut. On the twenty-second, Philip Liv- 
ingston, and Joseph Murray, of the executive council, and William Nicholl, 
Philip Verplanck, and Harry Cruger, of the assembly, were appointed com- 
missioners to the congress on the part of New York. 

2 Manuscript letter. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 291 

1* he sailor-governor, who certainly wrote his own letters, chap. 
although Colden had the credit of preparing his state- v_^l/ 
papers, was not the best rhetorician of his day. Still, he 1747 - 
could write well enough to make himself understood. 
Colonel Johnson was now evidently in high favor with his 
excellency, while the members of the assembly were 
denounced with emphasis, though in a private letter, as 
"wretches." The character of Lydius was questionable, 
and there was probable cause for the jealousy of Johnson 
toward him. Lydius had visited Boston during the pre- 
ceding month of May, and from the tenor of a letter 
addressed to him soon after his return to Albany, by Colonel 
Stoddard, of Northampton, which I find among the John- 
son papers, he must have succeeded in imposing himself 
upon Governor Shirley and his counsellors as a man of no 
mean consideration. The postscript to the foregoing letter 
of Mr. Clinton, referred, of course, to DeLancey, now 
become the master-spirit of the assembly, and who had 
probably moved the house to the hostile resolution against 
Johnson. But the chief justice was too wary to commit 
himself upon paper, —using Mr. Horsmanden, his associate 
upon the bench, as his amanuensis. The resolutions and 
addresses of the assembly during this stormy period were 
understood to have been written by him, and the day on 
which he was to be punished for these labors, was now ra- 
pidly drawing nigh. Having invested the chief j ustice with 
a commission irrevocable during good behavior, and there- 
fore being unable to visit him with his resentment, the 
governor determined to bestow the full measure of his 
vengeance upon his instrument. Accordingly, on the 
twelfth day of September, Mr. Horsmanden was suspended 
from his majesty's service as a member of the council, and 
a note of his suspension was directed to be entered upon 
the journals. The reasons for this procedure the governor 
said he would cause to be laid before his majesty. Having 
also been previously named as one of the commissioners to 
meet the representatives from the other colonies in con- 



292 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, gress, Mr. Horsmanden's name was ordered to be stricken 
^-v— / from that commission. x Nor was his degradation cora- 
1747. pleted until his removal from the bench, and from the 
recordership of the city, — measures that followed in quick 
succession. Yet he continued to hold the pen for the 
assembly for a considerable time afterward. Being poor, 
however, he was compelled to rely upon the private bounty 
of his friends and partisans ; and those who know the 
selfishness and ingratitude of politicians, in all ages, and 
almost without an exception, may well judge how he fared. 
In the emphatic language of Smith) he was " employed, 
applauded, — and ruined. 2 " 

The return of Colonel Johnson from his expedition 
toward Crown Point in search of the enemy, whom he was 
not able to find, was announced to the governor by express 
on the thirteenth of September. Very unpleasant intelli- 
gence, however, had been received from that direction a 
few days before, filling the assembly and the people with 
alarm. The fort at Saratoga was garrisoned by the New 
Jersey levies, commanded by Colonel Peter Schuyler ; but 
as Mr. Clinton was inflexible in his purpose of drawing no 
more upon the crown, there was danger of a speedy evacu* 
ation of the post for want of provisions. Indeed, inform 
mation to that effect from Colonel Schuyler himself, caused 
the assembly, without waiting for his excellency's answer 
to their resolutions of the second of September, to address 
him on the ninth, praying earnestly for the adoption of such 

1 Minutes of thecouneil board. 

2 " Such was his condition, until he raised himself by an advantageous 
match, and, by forsaking bis associates, reconciled himself to Mr. Clinton) 
when that governor broke with the man whose indiscretion and vehemence 
the chief justice had improved, to expose both to the general odium of the 
colony. Until his marriage with Mrs. Vesey, Mr. Horsmanden was an object 
of pity ; toasted indeed as the man who dared to be honest in the worst of 
times, but at a loss for his meals, and, by the importunity of his creditors, 
hourly exposed to the horrors of a jail ; and hence his irreconcilable enmity 
to Doctor Colden, by whose advice he fell, and to Mr. DeLancey, whose 
ambitious politics exposed him to the vengeance of that minister." — Sr/ti!/i, 
vol. ii. page 139. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 293 

measures as would prevent the destruction of thelbrces, chap. 
and preserve the fortress from falling into the hands of thew v _ ' 
enemy, with its heavy cannon and stores. In the event of 1747- 
the desertion of the Jerseymen, the house suggested that 
the post might be regarrisoned by a detachment from the 
new levies destined against Canada. Or, if these levies 
were not still within his excellency's command, they prayed 
that a portion of the independent fusileers might be sent 
thither, the assembly pledging the necessary supplies for 
that service. But before this address had been presented, 
the governor had rendered any answer thereto unnecessary 
by a message of a very decided character in reply to the 
resolutions of the house of the preceding week, in which 
all the demands for supplies contained in his last preceding 
message, were reiterated, with a threat that unless the 
house should revoke its determination not to provide for 
the transportation of supplies to the outposts, together with 
its refusal to allow Colonel Johnson a guard to convey the 
supplies for Oswego, he should be under the necessity of 
withdrawing the garrisons both from the last mentioned 
post, and from Saratoga, — points which would of course 
be immediately occupied by the enemy. Recapitulating 
again the history of his own successful negotiations with 
the Indians, and extolling the services of Colonel Johnson, 
his excellency reminded the assembly of the great expense 
to which the crown had been put in bringing the Indians 
into their present amicable state of feeling toward the 
English, and insisted that the colony ought in justice to 
defray the future charge of maintaining those relations. 
In any event, he demanded appropriations to cover the 
demands of the service for at least two months, admonish- 
ing the assembly that if this demand should again be 
refused, the responsibility for eveiy calamity that might 
consequently ensue, Would rest upon them. " If," said his 
excellency in closing, " you deny me the necessary supplies, 
all my endeavors must become ineffectual and fruitless; 
I must wash my hands, and leave at your doors the blood 



294 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, of the innocent people that may be shed by a cruel and 
*— y ~' merciless enemy." This message was received by the 
1747 - house on the tenth, and referred to a committee. One day 
after, the committee deputed to wait upon his excellency 
with the resolutions of the ninth, reported that they had 
discharged their duty, but that the governor had declined 
answering them. Whereupon it was forthwith resolved 
that his excellency be again addressed to the same effect 
as before in regard to the perilous condition of Saratoga ; 
and on the sixteenth another series of resolutions was 
adopted, embodying the exact substance of those of the 
ninth, save that the assembly now avowed a willingness, 
should Colonel Johnson, by any unforseen accident, be a 
sufferer in the execution of his contract for supplying 
the garrison at Oswego, to take his case into consideration, 
and do for him whatever might appear to be reasonable. 
But upon every other point the house insisted upon its 
former positions. 

This vexatious game of cross purposes was interrupted 
by successive adjournments, by command of the governor, 
until the fifth of October, — not, however, without a remon- 
strance by the assembly against these interruptions, and a 
vote of censure for the inconvenience to which his excel* 
lency was subjecting the members. Yet Mr. Clinton 
deserved not the censure, being engaged during the recess 
in active negotiations with the commissioners from the 
several colonies then in session, and not desiring the 
presence of the assembly until the results of those nego- 
tiations could be communicated. Meantime, as volunteers 
could not be obtained for recruiting the garrison at Oswego, 
Colonel Philip Schuyler was ordered to draft the requisite 
number of men for that service from his own regiment ; 
and Colonel Eoberts was directed to send three companies 
of levies to Saratoga, with instructions that should it be 
found impossible to maintain that post, the fort and block- 
houses must be destroyed, and the cannon and military 
stores removed to Albany. 1 Very shortly afterward advices 

1 Journals of the council board. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 295 

were received that the latter clause of the instructions had chap. 

VIII. 

been obeyed to the letter. The fort had been burnt and ^~^— < 
the stores removed as directed, — by which measure of 1747 * 
questionable necessity the northern frontiers was left 
entirely uncovered. 2 

At the earnest solicitation of the governor, Colonel 
Johnson had now arrived in New York for consultation 
respecting the condition of the colony at large ; and on 
the third of October, a committee of the executive council 
was directed to summon the colonel before them for exam- 
ination, with special relation to Indian affairs and the 
measures proper to be pursued in their immediate admin- 
istration. The examination was held on the ninth. The 
colonel's advice was, that an agent should be dispatched to 
Oswego without delay, with suitable presents for distribu- 
tion among the Indians, in order to preserve their existing 
good disposition. He stated that when he first engaged in 
the management of the affairs of that department their 
sachems were chiefly in the French interest, and had actually 
received belts from them which they had since given up, 
receiving belts from him in their stead, in behalf of the 
English. He believed that unless proper measures were 
taken to secure them in their present favorable mood, there 
would be great dissatisfaction and danger resulting from 
repeated disappointments. He stated that the Indians had 
been detained from hunting during the whole year, by the 
directions of the governor, and were consequently in a state 
of destitution, — actually suffering for man}^ necessaries for 
themselves and their families. Should not the necessary 
measures be taken for their relief, he felt that he himself 
would be obliged to leave his Mohawk settlement, and his 
removal would of course be the signal for a general flight 
of the people from that valley also. He furthermore 
thought it of importance that the English should build a 
fort in the Oneida country, and another among the Sene- 
cas. The Indians would be gratified at the adoption of 

Journal8 of the council board. 



296 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, measures like these, which iu themselves would go far to 
vm. . ' ... 

v— y—/ secure their confidence. At the close of his examination 

1747 - the colonel made a complaint on oath against several per- 
sons for selling rum to the Indians, and the attorney-general 
was instructed to institute prosecutions for the offence. } 

The commissioners of Massachusetts, Connecticut and 
New York having closed their deliberations, Mr. Clinton 
communicated the result of their conferences to the general 
assembly on the sixth of October. Long and tedious as 
had been the procrastination, the expedition against Crown 
Point and the invasion of Canada, was still uppermost in 
the minds of Shirley and Governor Clinton ; and the mes- 
sage announced a compact agreed upon by the commission- 
ers, for the immediate prosecution of the long-deferred 
enterprise. By the terms of that compact, New York was 
bound to have a certain number of men in readiness to 
march on a certain day ; and supplies were demanded for 
raising and paying the levies, and for covering all other 
expenses connected with that service, save for arms, ammu- 
nition, and camp equipage, which were to be provided by 
the crown. But the season for warlike operations in the 
north had again so nearly passed away, that it was yet again 
found necessary to defer the expedition until the ensuing 
spring. Nevertheless, contrary to Mr. Clinton's wishes, 
and indeed against his earnest entreaties, the commissioners 
had concerted nothing for the security of the frontiers of 
New York, nor for the equally important object of pre- 
serving the friendship of the fitful Indians. For both these 
objects, therefore, supplies were needed. Mr. Clinton 
again reviewed the history of his own labors in the Indian 
department ; — taking care to mention that since the treaty 
of the preceding year, Massachusetts had given presents to 
the Six Nations to the amount of one thousand pounds, 
and Connecticut to the amount of three hundred ; while 
neither at the treaty referred to, nor since, had New York 
been put to any expense for that service, — the whole having 

1 Minutes of the council board. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 297 

been borne by the crown. "But," said bis excellency, "I chap. 
can no longer, and will no longer, continue this charge on ^— v — ; 
the crown." The views of ColonelJohnson were enforced, 1747, 
especially his suggestions that forts should be erected in the 
several cantons of the Six Nations. The Indians were yet 
friendly ; but they had been so frequently disappointed in 
their expectation that Canada would before now have been 
strongly invaded by sea and land, that the most wise and 
efficient measures would be necessary for preserving their 
confidence. Although the entire charge of the Indian 
service, and the defence of the frontiers, would hence- 
forward devolve upon the colony, yet his excellency said he 
intended to make an appeal to the governments of the 
colonies south, as far as, and including Virginia, to con- 
tribute to the expense — the public defence being an object 
common to all. In conclusion, after a variety of sugges- 
tions as to the best method of raising and sustaining the 
quota of levies falling upon New York, the message stated 
that the sachems of the Six Nations were then in the city, 
awaiting the determination of the house, concerning them- 
selves and what was to be done for them. They had been 
accompanied by Colonel Johnson, " whose name," said the 
governor, "I cannot mention without grateful remem- 
brances of the services he has done his country." These 
sachems were impatient to be gone ; and the message 
strongly urged upon the assembly the immediate adoption 
of such measures as would soothe their feelings, and send 
them away with presents so liberal as to be satisfactory. 

According to the articles of the compact founded by the 
commissioners, Crown Point was first to be reduced. The 
number of troops to be raised for the expedition, was four 
thousand, exclusive of all the Indians who could be brought 
into the service. Of these four thousand levies, New 
York was to furnish twelve hundred from its own territory, 
and four hundred more, to be drawn from Massachusetts, 
and paid for by New York, — bounties, wages and supplies. 
For the Indian service of the campaign, Massachusetts 

38 



298 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, stipulated to pay nine-twentieths of the expense, New York 
s-^ eight-twentieths, and Connecticut three. Every Indian 
1747. warrior was to be equipped to the value of five pounds, 
and at the close of the expedition, a present to the same 
amount. The three colonies were to appoint and com- 
mission the three general officers who were to conduct the 
expedition. Applications are to be made to the other colo- 
nies, from New Hampshire to Virginia inclusive, to exert 
themselves to the extent of their ability in the prosecution 
of the war, and generally for the common defence. They 
were also to be invited to send delegates to meet in a grand 
committee of conference at Middletown, in Connecticut, 
in December. Meantime an application was to be made 
to the crown to create a diversion in Canada by sending a 
large fleet into the St. Lawrence, to attack the citadel of 
Quebec in accordance with the plan concerted two years 
before. In the event of a refusal on the part of ministers thus 
to cooperate in the grand design, the colonies were to create 
the diversion themselves, by fitting out such a fleet as they 
might, to act in concert wdth such ships of war as might 
chance to be cruising upon the American station. In case 
of a failure of both branches of the enterprise, the first 
three parties to the agreement, were each to employ a 
corps of rangers to harrass the border settlements of the 
enemy, and make war upon their allies, as best they could 
— the other colonies being invited to aid in this description 
of service likewise. In the event of an invasion of either 
of the colonies, parties to the agreement, the others were 
to march to their assistance. The forces to be directed 
against Crown Point, were to rendezvous at Albany as early 
as the fifteenth of April then ensuing, — 1748. The con- 
cluding article of the compact set forth as a reason for this 
alliance the utter inability of the colonies, singly, to main- 
tain a sufficient force to guard so extensive a frontier, — it 
being five hundred miles in length. Already they had 
suffered severely from the repeated and frequent incursions 
of the enemy, the loss of life, and the destruction of their 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 299 

towns and hamlets. To put an end to such a harrassing chap. 
species of warfare, the reduction of Crown Point was indis- «— v — ; 
pensable ; and the commissioners strongly appealed to the 1747 - 
other colonies, less exposed only because guarded and pro- 
tected by them, and who were in fact better able to defray 
the charges of this war than themselves, to come to their 
assistance. Nothing could have been more reasonable than 
such an appeal, but its reception was more cold than 
redounded to the credit of the parties directly appealed to, 
either for their patriotism or liberality. 

Mr. Clinton had requested a speedy answer to his mes- 
sage communicating these important arrangements, and it 
was given two days afterward in a series of resolutions, in 
part, at least, very little to his liking. Although the assem- 
bly voted with alacrity for everything essential to the 
Canadian invasion, for the defence of the frontier during 
the intervening winter, and supplies for making suitable 
presents to the Indians chiefs brought to the city by Colonel 
Johnson, yet among the resolutions were some breathing 
a spirit of rank and bitter hostility. Of this description 
was one setting forth that although his excellency had made 
large drafts upon the crown for the Indian service during 
the preceding summer, no disposition of the avails had 
been heard of. But the importance of preserving the 
alliance of the Six Nations was so great that they would 
nevertheless vote for the sum of eight hundred pounds for 
that object, to be 'placed in the harids of proper persons for dis- 
bursement. This proviso was but a thinly disguised impeach- 
ment of the executive integrity. In reference to the build- 
ing of forts in the Indian country, for the security of the 
women and children and old men while the warriors were 
absent in the service, the vote was conditional that the other 
colonies must share the expense. The forces at Albany 
destined for the defence of that section of the frontier 
during the approaching winter, the house was not inclined 
to take into pay unless their discharge should be directed 
by his majesty. News of the destruction of the fort at 



300 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Saratoga not having yet reached the ears of the assembly, 
v— v— / it was voted that that post should be preserved at all events ; 
1747# and a resolution of censure was added because the governor 
had not responded to the proceedings of the house in respect 
to that fortress, on the ninth and eleventh of September. 
The wrath of the governor was kindled by these resolu- 
tions to vehemence as will sufficiently appear by the follow- 
ing laconic reply : 

" Gentlemen : 

By your votes I understand you are going upon things 
very foreign to what I recommended to you : I will receive 
nothing from you at this critical juncture, but what relates 
to the message I last sent you, viz : By all means imme- 
mediately to take the preservation of your frontiers, and 
the fidelity of the Indians into consideration. The loss of 
a day may have fatal consequences ; when that is over, you 
Imay have time enough to go upon other matters. 

G. Clinton." 

The effect of this message was like the casting of a live 
coal into a magazine of gun-powder. In its consideration 
the doors of the assembly were shut, locked, and the key 
laid upon the table in the due and ancient form in cases of 
alleged breaches of privilege ; and a series of resolutions 
was passed, nemine contradicente, wherein it was declared to 
be the undoubted right and privilege of the house to pro- 
ceed upon all proper subjects for their consideration, in 
such order, method and manner as to themselves should 
seem most convenient ; — that any attempt to direct or pre- 
scribe to the house the manner in which they must proceed 
in their discussions of public affairs, was a manifest breach 
of the rights of the house and the people ; — that the declara- 
tion of the governor that he would receive nothing from the 
house at that time but what had been recommended in his 
message, was irregular and unprecedented — tending to the 
subversion of the rights, liberties and privileges of the 
house and the people ; — and that whoever had advised that 
message had attempted to undermine those rights and 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 301 

privileges, and to subvert the constitution of the colony, C v^ P * 
and was moreover an enemy to its inhabitants. The re- ' — v — ' 
solutions were followed up immediately by an address, or ' 
remonstrance to his excellency, extending to the great 
length of eight printed folio pages, conceived in the same 
acrimonious spirit which had indeed characterized the pro- 
ceedings of both parties for many months. It professed 
to review the whole controversy between the governor and 
themselves from its inception, being his excellency's mes- 
sage of June sixth, 1746. Down to that period, the remon- 
strance declared that the utmost harmony had existed 
between them, and their distractions had only arisen since 
his excellency " had thought lit to place his sole confidence 
in that person who styles himself the next in administra- 
tion, and been pleased to submit himself to his direction 
and influence." This individual, Dr. Colden, was bitterly 
denounced. In reviewing the late proceedings both of the 
governor and themselves, in connexion specially, with the 
Indian affairs, the executive was severely censured for 
taking the management of those affairs from the hands of 
the Indian commissioners at Albany, and confiding them 
to other individuals, the chief of whom, of course, was 
Colonel Johnson. Much of the ill-feeling of the Indians, 
prior to the treaty of 1746, was attributed to the intrigues 
of designing men, seeking to supplant the commissioners 
for interested and mercenary purposes. Instead of the 
course the governor had pursued by the summary employ- 
ment of individuals, if dissatisfied with the conduct of old 
commissioners, he should have caused them to be suspended 
by new appointments issued in a regular manner. 

This attack upon Colonel Johnson showed very con- 
clusively that he was at that time in no favor with his 
relative, Mr. DeLancey. His excellency had repeatedly 
advocated, in his late messages, not, indeed without an air 
of self-complacency, to his successful diplomacy with the 
Indians, whereby he had changed their policy, and defeat- 
ed the designs of the people of Albany, whose aim it was 



302 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

p - to keep the Indians from the war-path, and allow them to 
maintain the position of neutrals. Upon this point the 



vm. 
1747. 



address avowed the opinion, distinctly, that it would have 
been far better had the Indians been left in that position. 
His excellency had indeed told them that the Six Nations 
had engaged heartily in the war ; but the house was yet in 
ignorance touching any engagement in which they had par- 
ticipated. All the evidence of their prowess, which they 
had seen, consisted in the exhibition in the city, by a small 
party of Indians, of three scalps, and a few French prisoners. 
Again, on the subject of Indian expenditures, they hinted 
at the misapplication of funds said to have been laid out 
for presents ; and considering the heavy drafts upon the 
crown for this service during the late summer, they intimat- 
ed a belief that notwithstanding his excellency's call for 
appropriations, he must have already a considerable sum in 
bank. They treated his excellency's frequent expressions 
of concern for the welfare of the people with ridicule, 
charging upon him and his adviser the guilt of the mas- 
sacre of Saratoga in the autumn of 1745, which event, they 
alleged, could not have taken place but for the rash with- 
drawal of the garrison from that place. Many other 
charges of faults and official delinquencies, civil and mili- 
tary, were set forth and commented upon with biting irony. 
They declared that from a very early time of his adminis- 
tration, he had treated with contempt the people of the 
colony in general, and the members of the house in par- 
ticular ; and that he had applied to them in terms so 
opprobrious as to render them unfit for publication. They 
complained of the many short and inconvenient adjourn- 
ments to which they had been subjected, and were par- 
ticularly displeased that they had not been kept in session 
during the recent negotiations with the Massachusetts and 
Connecticut commissioners, " that they might have been 
daily advised with, and their opinions consulted from time 
to time as to the matters under consideration," — forgetting, 
probably, in the ardor of their patriotism, that the house of 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 303 

assembly was not exactly the executive council, and that chap. 
by the English constitution the treaty-making power resides >_ v _, 
not in the house of commons. They thought it very likely 1747 - 
his excellency had been advised that the best way to manage 
an assembly was to harrass them by frequent and short 
adjournments ; but they assured him that with them, such 
a course would be vain and fruitless. " No treatment your 
excellency can use toward us, no inconveniences how great 
soever that we may suffer in our own persons, shall ever 
prevail on us to abandon or deter us from steadily pre- 
serving the interest of our country." 

This address was reported by Mr. Clarkson, from a com- 
mittee previously appointed upon the subject, on the ninth 
of October. Immediately upon its reading, the speaker, 
David Jones, was directed to sign, and a committee con- 
sisting of Messrs. Clarkson, Phillipse, Thomas, Cruger, 
Beekman, Lott and Chambers, were designated as a com- 
mittee to present it to his excellency. This duty was 
promptly discharged; but the irascible governor would 
neither allow the chairman to read it to him, nor leave it 
in his chamber. 

Three days afterward, before the assembly had taken any 
farther action in the controversy, — unless a request for 
information as to the state and condition of the forts and 
garrisons of Saratoga and Oswego might be considered of 
that character, — the governor sent down a message in 
answer to the assembly's resolutions of the eighth, almost 
as long, and if possible, even more vituperative than the 
address of the house. In the first place, however, the 
governor expressed the pleasure he felt at the ready appro- 
bation which the house had given to the compact of the 
commissioners for the invasion of Canada. The scheme 
contemplated by that compact closely resembled the project 
between himself, Mr. Shirley and Sir Peter "Warren, the 
year before ; and had it then been executed it would have 
been at the expense of the crown. Now, however, it must 
be done entirely at the charge of the colonies. His excel- 



304 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

p - lency was also pleased at being able to announce that one 
or more forts, by the arrangement of the commissioners, 



VIII. 

1747 



sanctioned by the unanimous vote of his council, were to 
be erected at the carrying-place. This expense also, would 
fall exclusively upon the colonies ; — whereas but for the 
conduct of the commissioners appointed by the house, in 
regard to the transportation of provisions and general sup- 
plies for the forces, those defences would likewise have 
been constructed x at the cost of the crown. 

His excellency next proceeded to vindicate his own con- 
duct from the aspersions so frequently cast upon it in con- 
nection with his management of the Indian department, 
and the oft-repeated insinuation of a misapplication of the 
money drawn from the crown for that branch of the service. 
The house had asserted, in one of its resolutions respecting 
this money, " that no disposition thereof for the purpose 
intended had yet been heard of." In this resolution, Mr. 
Clinton now charged the house with uttering " as bold a 
falsehood as ever came from a body of men." In vindica- 
tion of himself, and in refutation of the assertion, the mes- 
sage pointed to a long chain of operations in the Indian 
department, known to them all, and sufficient to absorb a 
very large sum, but for which not a shilling had been paid 
by the colony. The Indians had all been armed, clothed, 
and provisioned by him ; numerous war-parties had been 
kept in constant motion, and at one time as many as six 
hundred warriors were marching together. 

The services of Colonel Johnson in that department, 
were adverted to in terms of high praise. Before the go- 
vernor's interview with the Indians at Albany the previous 
year, it was a difficult matter to prevail upon a dozen or 
twenty of them even to go forth upon a scout. Now, how- 
ever, Colonel Johnson engages to bring a thousand war- 
riors into the field upon any reasonable notice. Through 
his influence the chiefs had been weaned from their intimacy 
with the French, and many distant Indian nations were 
now courting the friendship of the English. As to the 



LIFE QF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 305 

money lie had received from the crown for this service, the chap. 
governor said he was in no way accountable to the house v—^ 
for its application. Not having supplied a penny of it, 1747 - 
they had nothing to do with it. In this connection he 
inveighed against the proviso of the resolution appropriat- 
ing eight hundred pounds for the Indian service, to be 
placed for disbursement in other hands than those of the 
executive. This condition displosed the motive for the 
slander against him, it being nothing less than a determina- 
tion to violate an undisputed prerogative of the crown, and 
to wrest his majesty's authority from the executive hands. 

The conditional resolve concerning the supplies for the 
forces at Albany, was likewise denounced as an interference 
with the military prerogative of his majesty ; in connection 
with which his excellency tauntingly inquired whether the 
house had received any advices or orders from his majesty, 
or his ministers, upon the subject of the army regulations. 
" The forces at Albany are under my command only," said 
he ; " and you will never know anything of his majesty's 
pleasure about these forces, but from me, or from my suc- 
cessor." * * * "His majesty will not part with the 
least branch of bis military prerogative ; nor dare I, nor 
will I, give up the least branch of it on any consideration, 
however desirous you may be to share it, or to bear the 
whole command." In this spirit the crown had sent him 
orders relating to Saratoga; and while they knew that he 
was heartily inclined to do what they desired of him in that 
matter, they, also, some of them, knew it was impracticable. 

He had formerly told them that the fort at Saratoga was 
inadequate for the security of that section of the frontier ; 
and of what has happened to it they had been forewarned, 
unless proper assistance should be afforded for its preserva- 
tion. The position of that fort was unfavorable ; it bad 
been maintained at great expense, and more lives had been 
lost by reason of its disadvantageous situation, than by any 
other cause since the war. It had been placed there by 
commissioners recommended by his council ; but it ha<l 

39 



306 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, since been discovered that their object in selecting that site 
v-v — - was not the protection of the country, but of quantities of 
1747. -wheat growing in its neighborhood. The work itself being 
of no substantial use as a military position, and finding it 
impossible longer to maintain it without hazarding the total 
dissolution of the forces at Albany, the cannon and stores 
had been withdrawn and the fortification destroyed. In 
addition to all which, the conduct of the assembly itself had 
compelled him to abandon the place by their opposition to 
every measure proposed by him for its preservation. 

On the subject of his endeavors to confine the action of 
the house exclusively to his recommendations for the wel- 
fare and protection of the colony, especially in regard to 
his brief message of the eighth, his excellency attempted 
a justification. His design was simply to secure in the first 
instance, such action as would guaranty the safety of the 
province. There would afterward be time enough for the 
consideration of as many other subjects as they could desire. 
He taunted them sharply for what he called the farce of 
locking the door and laying the key with solemn form upon 
the table, — asking them whether there were any suspicious 
people without the doors of whom they were afraid, and 
whether they apprehended that any of their own members 
were intent upon running away. If not, — it was really 
an attempt to shut him out so that he could not communi- 
cate by message, — then the act was a high insult to the 
royalauthority, and for the time being a withdrawal of 
their allegiance. He declared that by their resolutions of 
the ninth, they had assumed all the rights and privileges 
of the house of commons of Great Britain. Such an 
assumption was nothing less than claiming to be a branch 
of the legislature of the kingdom, or in other words a 
denial of subjection to the crown and parliament. He 
reasoned the point to show that it could not be so ; the 
supreme power had a right to put limitations upon their 
proceedings ; and he told them not only that these and 
some subjects which they had no right to discuss, but that 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 307 

" he had his majesty's express command not to suffer them chap. 
to bring some matters into the house, nor to debate upon v-^L 
them." It was for that reason that the clerk of the house 1747 - 
was required every day to lay before the governor the 
minutes of their proceedings, that the governor may put a 
stop to them when they become disorderly or undutiful. 

He reproved them for having recently adopted the dis- 
respectful and unmannerly practice of ordering resolutions 
to be served upon him from time to time ; and censured 
them severely for their rudeness on a late occasion, when, 
within a quarter of an hour after they had served him with 
a copy of their resolutions of the ninth, several of the 
members of their body thrust themselves upon him in an 
apartment of his own house, without previous notice of, 
to read "a large bundle of papers," which they called a 
remonstrance from the house. Every private man in the 
country considered his own house his castle, and his excel- 
lency demanded whether their governor was not entitled 
to the same privilege ? Whether he must be thus intruded 
upon, and bear it with patience ? Under the circumstances 
of the case, he had but too much reason to refuse to receive 
the remonstrance ; — and he then gave them warning that 
he would never again receive from them a document in 
public, which had not first been communicated to him in 
private. 

He reminded them of another act of incivility. At the 
opening of the session, they had not, as usual, acquainted 
him with their organization, — an omission without prece- 
dent, and evidently by design. They had resolved forth- 
with to enter upon the consideration of the state of the 
province, without having received any information as to 
what its condition was. They also resolved to make a 
remonstrance upon the condition of the colony, without 
resolving what should be the subject matter of the docu- 
ment, — ordering their committee to draw it up without 
instructions. That committee presented the report so 
soon, and the house adopted it so hastily, as to preclude 



308 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, the exercise of any rational judgment upon the subject. 
w^I^o precedents could be found for their conduct, save in the 
1™** course taken by the house of commons when they had 
determined to take away the king's life, and overthrow the 
established government. This allusion was certainly not 
malapro2JOs. The same leaven was doubtless at work in 
Clinton's little parliament, which, in the greater, had sent 
the unhappy Stuart to the block. 

Various other points of the controversy were passed in 
review. The house had been insolent toward him, and 
forgotten all kind of decency and regard for the authority 
vested in him by his majesty. They had endeavored to 
deprive him of the esteem of the people. They had 
witholden supplies for the public service ; and for the pur- 
pose of justifying themselves to their constituents, had 
endeavored to induce a belief that he had applied the pub- 
lic money to his own use. To refute this idea he now stated 
that during the few years of his administration no more 
than one thousand eight hundred pounds currency of the 
colony had passed into his hands for the Indian service ; 
and the account he then gave of the uses to which the 
money had been applied, and the benefits secured by its 
expenditure, when viewed at this distance of time, proves 
very clearly that the expenditure was made with wisdom, 
prudence and economy. Upon this point his excellency 
insisted that if they had really entertained any suspicions 
of his integrity, they should have instituted an investiga- 
tion. But they had not done so, although they had seemed 
to act as though he was the only man in the province 
who could misapply the public revenues ; for more than 
sixty thousand pounds had passed through the hands of 
their own commissioners, while no reports as to the manner 
of its disbursement had been exacted, nor any inquiry made. 
In a word all the charges and insinuations of the house 
against the governor, were pronounced to be false, and their 
conduct toward those who had endeavored to support his 
administration against their opposition, was declared to be 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BAR*; 809 

malicious. Their long-continued unbecoming conduct, in C ™A V ' 
the view of his excellency, could arise but from one of the w^— . 
following causes : mi. 

I. A firm principle of disloyalty, with a desire to deliver 
the country up to the king's enemies : 

II. The desire of some individuals for such a shameful 
neutrality as was established in the war of Queen Anne's 
time. 

III. A design to overturn the constitution, and throw 
everything into confusion : 

IV. The gratification of the pride and private malice and 
rancor of a few men, at the hazard of the lives and estates 
of their constituents. It was added — "That there are 
such men in this country, is no secret, nor what share they 
have in your private consultations." 

The governor then drew a contrast showing how widely 
different had been his conduct fromtheir's. When he dis- 
covered that they had fallen into a state of unreasonable 
heat and passion, he had adjourned or prorogued them, 
that they might have time to cool down. And on their 
reassembling, although he had endeavored to forget past 
differences, they would strive by every means to revive 
them. Even now, although they had every just reason to 
expect the manifestation of strong resentment from him, 
yet he was resolved to disappoint them. He therefore in 
conclusion again exhorted them to make the proper pro- 
visions for the care and safety of the province, — admon- 
ishing them, however, to beware of attempting any mea- 
sures that might clash with his instructions from the crown, 
or infringe upon the royal prerogative. " The ill effects of 
the condescensions of former governors of the province," 
were now too sensibly felt to justify any further conces- 
sions. 

It appears by the assembly's journal, that after referring 
the message to a committee, the house entered upon the 
consideration of public affairs with a commendable degree 
of diligence. On the fifteenth day of October they 



310 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART, 

chap, requested the governor to execute one of the projects agreed 
v-^— / upon by the commissioners, by sending gun-smiths and 
174 ~- assistant artizans into the country of the Six Nations among 
all the tribes beyond the Mohawks, pledging the ways and 
means, in the full confidence, however, that Massachusetts 
and Connecticut would defray their respective proportions 
of the expense. On the next day the governor commu- 
nicated a table of estimates requiring appropriations for 
the winter service, — stating that it was his intention to 
invite the cooperation of the colonies south to the Caro- 
linas, for the common defence. Having ordered the proper 
arrangements for the security of the colony during the 
repose of winter, it was thought the assembly might be 
safely adjourned — to be aroused into action again in the 
spring, when the bugle should sound to arms for the actual 
invasion of Canada. 

But the hopes and the high expectations of the colonies, 
especially those of New York and New England, were 
again dashed by disappointment alike mortifying and 
severe. On the nineteenth of October, orders were 
received from the duke of Newcastle, signifying the royal 
approbation of the preparations made jointly by Shirley 
and Clinton, for the intended expedition, but nevertheless 
directing them to desist from that expedition, and to dis- 
band all the levies engaged for that service, retaining such 
a number of the New England forces as might be judged 
necessary for the protection of Nova Scotia. The colonies 
were directed to pay off the levies, and transmit the 
accounts to be reimbursed by parliament. Mr. Clinton 
immediately transmitted these disheartening orders by 
message to the assembly, with a recommendation that so 
many of the levies at Albany as might be deemed neces- 
sary for the defence of the north might still be retained in 
the service, and provision be made for their subsistence. 
This suggestion was followed by a vote of the assembly to 
retain eight full companies at Albany until the ensuing 
month of August, if their service should so long be neces- 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. oil 

sary ; but in view of the heavy expenses to which the colony chap. 
had already been subjected by the war, and the almost *— v— ' 
ruined condition of the colony, the house felt itself obliged 747, 
to decline advancing either money or credit for the pay- 
ment of the forces in arrears. With this exception, the 
assembly proceeded with apparent calmness to make just 
and proper appropriations for various objects, such as the 
employment of a corps of rangers to traverse the northern 
border, and for repairing sundry forts. Appropriations 
were also voted for divers other matters, among which was 
one for the completion of the governor's house. But the 
calm was short, if not delusive, and the storm directed 
against the executive broke out on the twenty-sixth of 
October with unabated violence. It appears that two days 
before that date, it being on Saturday, the governor, by a 
written order under his own hand, had forbidden Mr. James 
Parker, printer to the assembly, to publish in the journals 
of that body the celebrated remonstrance of the ninth, of 
which a copious analysis has already been given. Parker 
had refused to recognize the validity of a verbal order to 
the same eifect, communicated by his excellency's secretary, 
Mr. Catherwood ; and this written mandate he was required 
to publish in his newspaper, which he accordingly did on 
Monday morning, — together with the paragraph contained 
in the governor's message of the thirteenth, wherein his 
excellency had charged the committee of the house, bearing 
the said remonstrance, with obtruding themselves rudely 
into a private apartment of his domicil. Chafed at this 
arbitrary mandate to Parker, and smarting yet from the 
imputation cast by the governor upon the committee, Mr. 
Clarkson rose in his place on Monday, and called the atten- 
tion of the house to the contents of the newspaper. The 
publication having been read, Mr. C. proceeded to relate, 
and his colleagues of the committee to confirm, the history 
of the transaction in question. The committee " knocked 
at the outward door, and told the servant who attended, 
that they had a message. Retiring into an inner room, the 



312 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, servant soon returned, accompanied by a gentleman, who 
v—^—, showed them into the presence of the governor, by whom 
1747 - they were received without any manifestation of displeasure. 
They informed his excellency that they came as a commit- 
tee of the house with a remonstrance, which they offered 
to read ; but his excellency refused either to hear it, or 
even to allow them to read it, upon the ground that such 
a procedure, without the presence of the speaker, was not 
parliamentary. The next step was to order the attendance 
of Parker at the bar of the house, to produce the original 
order from the governor, a copy of which had been 
published in his newspaper. This being done, resolutions 
were passed declaring that the attempt to prevent the pub- 
lication of their proceedings, was a violation of the rights 
and liberties of the people, and an infringement of their 
privileges ; that the remonstrance was a regular proceeding ; 
that the governor's order was unwarrantable, arbitrary and 
illegal, a violation of their privileges, and of the liberty of 
the press, and tending to the utter subversion of all the 
rights and liberties of the colony ; and that the speaker's 
order for printing the remonstrance, was regular and con- 
sistent with his duty." l Parker preferred to identify his 
, fortunes with those of the popular party, rather than to 
obey the behest of the crown, as expressed by its repre- 
, sentative. The governor's order was therefore disre- 
garded, and the remonstrance printed as directed by the 
house. The controversy was maintained with increasing 
intensity, for many days ; in the course of which the house, 
in order, doubtless, as much to reassert its own power as 
to annoy the governor, directed Parker to reprint the offen- 
sive document, and furnish each member with two copies 
thereof, — "that their constituents might know it was their 
firm resolution to preserve the liberty of the press." 

But while these proceedings were yet in progress, the 
governor startled the assembly by a message announcing 
that he might find it necessary to detach large bodies of 

1 Smith, vol. ii. pp. 132, 133. Vide also journals of the colonial assembly. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 313 

the militia for the defence of the frontiers, and requiring chap. 
a contingent appropriation to meet the expense. This • — , — - 
species of service was not only burdensome, but particu- 1747, 
larly irksome to the people, and the house was thrown 
into fermentation by the requisition. The message was 
referred to a committee which a week afterward reported 
in substance, that they were amazed that his excellency 
should have sent them such a message, since he had so 
recently given them to understand that he should rely 
upon the levies already at Albany for the public defence ; 
for the pay and subsistence of whom the house was even 
then taking the necessary measures. In conclusion the 
committee avowed the belief that while his excellency was 
governed by such unsteady and ever-varying counsels, 
and while he continued to send them messages conceived 
in such doubtful and ambiguous terms as had of late 
marked his communications to them, it would be difficult 
to make such provision for the defence of the frontiers as 
seemed necessary. Nevertheless it was acknowledged to 
be their duty to adopt such measures as the exigency of 
the case appeared to require. 

This report had no sooner caught the eye of the 
governor while examining the copy of the assembly's 
journal as presented for his inspection by the clerk, than 
he turned the tables upon his opponents, and demonstrated 
beyond doubt the factiousness of their cause. He first 
reminded them of their vote upon his message of the 
nineteenth of October, refusing to pay the arrears of the 
levies. They had indeed voted to retain eight companies 
of the levies at the north, but not upon the terms sug- 
gested in his message, viz : the continuance of full pay ; 
instead of which they had cut the officers and subalterns 
down to less than one half of the compensation allowed 
upon the regular military establishment. Upon these 
terms it was not to be expected that the levies would 
remain in the service. Indeed men fit to serve ought not 
to remain. And he begged the assembly to consider 

40 



314 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. w hat would be the condition of things, were the levies to 
*— y— ' disband themselves and return to their homes, unpaid and 
1747, without clothes, — leaving the nothern frontier entirely 
uncovered. As to the charge of vascillation in his coun- 
cils, the governor said they must necessarily vary with 
changes of circumstances ; but in the present instance it 
was the conduct of the assembly alone that had caused the 
variation. Still duty required him to do all in his power 
to avert the mischiefs arising from their conduct, and also 
to take care of the people. 

The assembly rejoined in a bad spirit, reiterating the 
charge of inconsistency against thegovernor, and accusing 
him of pursuing measures purposely intended to cause the 
disaffection and desertion of the levies, that a plausible pre- 
text might thereby be afforded for wantonly harrassing the 
poor people of the colony by dragging them into the 
military service. Under all the circumstances of the case, 
therefore, they had arrived at the conclusion that to retain 
the levies would now be impossible, and that as a conse- 
quence immediate provision must be made for raising a 
sufficient number of volunteers for the public defence. 
The committee's report was concurred in nemine contra- 
dicente; and on the fifth of November resolutions were 
passed directing the employment of eight hundred volun- 
teers, for two hundred and seventy days service, and appro- 
priating the sum of eighteen thousand pounds for their 
subsistence. Contemporaneously with this procedure, the 
house was notified by the legislative council that they had 
passed its bill for the supply of the eight full companies 
of levies already at Albany, as heretofore mentioned. 
This scheme however, having been virtually abandoned 
by the house, a resolution was adopted, declaring the 
impracticability of retaining those eight full companies of 
levies in the service, and praying the governor to issue 
warrants for raising thirteen companies of volunteers of 
sixty men each, with the promise of commissions to those 
who should actually recruit them, at the reduced rates of 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

compensation to which his excellency, in respect to the chap. 
retention of the levies, had objected, as being altogether ^—v— - 
inadequate to the employment of respectable men. A 1747 - 
committee of which Colonel Schuyler was chairman, 
waited upon his excellency with this resolution, but he 
declined answering it. Three days afterward, to wit on 
the tenth of November, the assembly deputed another 
committee to wait upon his excellency, and inform him 
of their apprehensions that the river navigation to Albany 
would close before the necessary winter supplies for the 
forces at the north could now be sent up, and praying his 
assent to the subsistence bill, which, having passed both 
houses, now awaited only his signature to become a law. 
But his excellency, like Richard, was "busy," — preparing 
despatches as he alleged, for Boston, — and would receive 
no message from the house otherwise than at the hand of 
their speaker. On the thirteenth, the request was 
renewed by a formal address presented by the house in a 
body — the speaker of course being at their head. From 
the reply of his excellency, it appeared that his reluctance 
to sign the bill in question, had arisen from an objectiona- 
ble principle involved therein. He had on two previous 
occasions given his assent to bills involving the same 
principle, and had been censured at home for so doing. 
His excuse to the crown had been the pressing necessity 
of the public service, and he hoped the same excuse 
would avail again, as he had made up his mind to sign 
the bill. He took occasion, moreover, to admonish the 
house in regard to the bill for the pay of the forces to be 
raised, then pending, not to incorporate in its provisions 
any thing that might in anywise interfere with the preroga- 
tives of the crown. The bill thus specially referred to, 
authorized the raising of the sum of twenty-eight thou- 
sand pounds, by a direct tax, for the military service, 
and the like sum by an issue of bills of credit, with pro- 
visions for sinking and cancelling the same. In closing 
his reply, the governor farther informed the house that 



316 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



1747. 



°vin! > ' t ne officers of the four companies of fusileers stationed at 
Albany had notified him that for the want of supplies 
they were on the point of dissolution. 

On the twenty-fifth of November his excellency com- 
manded the attendance of the house in the council 
chamber, when he approved the bill for victualling the 
forces and also the important revenue bill just spoken of. 
Two other bills of minor importance, likewise received 
his excellency's signature ; whereupon, finding that the 
controversy in which he had so long been engaged with 
the assembly had evidently become past healing, — indeed 
that on the contrary the breach was daily becoming wider 
and yet wider, — the general assembly was dissolved. His 
excellency commenced his speech announcing the disso- 
lution, by referring to the votes of the house in the case 
of Parker. He maintained that their remonstrance, of 
which he had forbidden the republication from the jour- 
nals in Parker's newspaper, was a false, scandalous, and 
malicious libel upon him throughout; and he therefore 
had a right, for the protection of his own character, to 
inhibit the publication of a document surcharged with 
falsehood, as they very well knew it to be. As to the 
popular out-cry which they had attempted to raise about 
the liberty of the press, he said it was a liberty very liable 
to be abused, and against which there ought to be a 
remedy. ISTor could the application of a proper remedy 
be considered a restraint upon a just degree of liberty. 
He charged them with a design, as was obvious from their 
whole course, to usurp the supreme authority of the 
government, and in support of the charge the governor 
again entered upon a summary review of the conduct of 
the assembly, rehearsing its sins both of omission and 
commission. Among the former, he observed that 
notwithstanding the frequency and earnestness of his 
appeals to them for the Indian service, and the importance 
of preserving the existing amicable relations with the 
Confederates, the assembly had not made the slightest pro- 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 317 

vision for that object. The house had complained that he chap 
J r . vm. 

had kept secret from them the orders he had received for <~^—< 

discharging the forces intended for the Canada expedition 1747 - 
until the hour had arrived for their execution. His reply 
to this charge was an ample justification of his course. 
It was necessary to keep those orders from the knowledge 
of the enemy lest advantage should be taken of them, and 
the frontiers invaded, before the necessary preperations 
could be made for their defence. He had, however, given 
them timely notice of what was to happen ; and had the 
suggestions he had made to them been seasonably acted 
upon, the object of security could have been attained at 
an expense forty thousand pounds less than what would 
now be the cost to the colony. In reviewing his own 
exertions for the public defence, and his endeavors to pre- 
serve a force at Albany so large as to render drafts upon 
the militia unnecessary, his excellency charged upon the 
assembly the design of usurping the command of the 
militia, and with having passed resolutions calculated to 
produce disobedience to orders, and which, in fact, had 
produced such disobedience. Their refusal to pay the 
arrears of the forces on the credit of the king, showed 
what little regard they had either for his majesty's pleasure, 
or for the interests of those who had willingly exposed 
their lives for the defence of the country. It was now 
well known, that had his advice been followed in the first 
instance, a sufficient number of the levies might have been 
retained at Albany. Equally well was it now known that 
the necessary force could not now be readily obtained. 
The consequence was that by the advice of his council he 
should now be obliged to apply to some of the other colo- 
nies for assistance. Other points were raised in the speech 
which have become familiar in the history of this protract- 
ed controversy. Even now, in one of the bills to which 
he had just placed his signature, they had inserted a clause 
that would very likely defeat its object. He referred to a 
section placing the provisions and ammunition for the 



318 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

C vm P ' Public service under the exclusive control of persons of 
1 — «-— ' their own nomination, without consulting the governor in 
' ' the appointment of those persons, — they, too, having it in 
their power to control any order which the governor 
might give ! He had been compelled by the public danger, 
to sign that bill, though contrary to the express instruc- 
tions of the crown. In a word, they had done all they 
could to traduce his character; to encourage disobedi- 
ence ; to inflame the passions of the people ; and to para- 
lyze his exertions for the safety of the province. Near the 
close of the speech the following passage occurs, which 
was true beyond a doubt : 

" Your continued grasping for power, with an evident 
tendency to the weakening of the dependency of the 
province on Great Britain, accompanied with such notori- 
ous and public disrespect to the character of your 
governor, and contempt of the king's authority intrusted 
with him, cannot be hid longer from your superiors, but 
must come under their observation, and is of most dan- 
gerous example to your neighbors." 

Knowing, therefore, that great-numbers of the inhabit- 
ants disapproved of their proceedings, and for the pur- 
pose of giving them an opportunity of vindicating their 
loyalty to their prince, as well as their love of country, 
his excellency declared the general assembly to be dis- 
solved. 

This act appears to have come somewhat suddenly upon 
the assembly, a committee having at the time been 
engaged in the preparation of another address to his 
excellency, similar in tone and character to the late remon- 
strance, but much larger, and more elaborate. The disso- 
lution Y aving prevented the house from giving an oflicial 
impress to the document, it was shortly afterward publish- 
ed in the form of " A letter from some of the represent- 
atives in the late general assembly to his excellency the 
governor, in answer to his message of October thirteenth, 
and to his dissolution speech." This document comprised 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 319 

a very extended review of the whole controversy between c "*p. 
the parties, dwelling upon each and every particular point ^-^- > 
with exceeding minuteness, and evidencing considerable 
powers of reasoning and analysis. There was no abate- 
ment in the bitterness of its tone, either toward the 
governor, or his chief confidential adviser, Doctor Colden. 
But from the historical sketch already given of the con- 
troversy, no necessity exists for a synopsis of this formid- 
able paper — sufficient, of itself, to fill one hundred pages 
of an ordinary octavo. Smith attributes the authorship 
to Judge Horsmanden, — Doctor Colden being also 
charged with the composition of his excellency's state 
papers. These suppositions were probably correct. In- 
deed Mr. Horsmanden had been summarily degraded 
from his station for his officiousness in this respect ; and 
Doctor Colden had entered several protests upon the 
journals of the legislative council, bearing strong family 
resemblances to the papers bearing the signature of Mr. 
Clinton. Among these was a protest against a bill from 
the assembly, which passed the council on the third of 
November, instituting a committee to examine the public 
accounts of the colony from the year 1713. The doctor 
protested against this bill, first, as being an infringement 
upon the royal prerogative. The moneys, he asserted, had 
been raised for the service of the king, and his majesty, or 
his representative, had therefore an undoubted right to 
appoint the persons charged with the proposed exami- 
nation, especially in regard to their expenditure, whereas 
the governor had not even been consulted as to the per- 
sons constituting the commission. Secondly, the commis- 
sioners named were merchants. As the revenues were 
in a great measure raised from duties and imposts, he held 
that a mercantile commission was improper. The reve- 
nues from those sources were not half as much as they 
would be if honestly collected. These commissioners, if 
merchants , could connive with their friends for the conceal- 
ment of frauds. Other exceptions were taken to the details 



320 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, of the bill ; but those just mentioned are the most important. 
>— > — - The doctor also protested against a bill from the assembly 
1747 - cancelling certain bills of credit, together with the special 
revenue bill for the prosecution of the war, upon the old 
ground of collision with the kingly prerogative. The last 
mentioned bill it was averred was specially objectionable 
because it usurped the executive power for the appoint- 
ment of troops and officers, and provided for the disburse- 
ment of money from the treasury without the governor's 
warrant. 

Although from a very early date in the history of this 
protracted controversy, it became inexcusably personal, yet 
it is not difficult to perceive that it was in reality one of 
principle. On the one hand, the infant Hercules, though 
still in his cradle, was becoming impatient of restraint. 
The yoke of colonial servitude chafed the necks, if not of 
the people, at least of their representatives. The royal 
governor was not slow to perceive what kind of leaven was 
fermenting the body politic ; and hence he became perhaps 
over-jealous in asserting and defending the prerogatives of 
his master. Doubtless in the progress of the quarrel there 
were faults on both sides. Of an irascible and overbearing 
temperament, and accustomed in his profession to com- 
mand rather than to persuade, he was ill qualified to exer- 
cise a limited or concurrent power with a popular assembly 
equally jealous of its own privileges and of the liberties of 
the people; watching with sleepless vigilance for every 
opportunity to circumscribe the influence of the crown ; 
and ready at every moment to resist the encroachments of 
arbitrary power. Still, however patriotic the motives, 
under the promptings of DeLancey, their opposition to 
Mr. Clinton became factious ; and it is not difficult even 
for a republican to believe that he was treated not only 
with harshness, but with great injustice, especially in regard 
to his measures, and his personal exertions for the public 
defence and the prosecution of the war. 
But the principles for which Hambden bled, and Sidney 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 321 

died on the scaffold, were striking deeper root in British chap. 
America every day, — an additional proof of which fact, v — v— ' 
not easily to he misunderstood, was manifested about this 
time by a transaction at Boston. Time immemorial the 
crown had claimed the right in periods of war, of raising 
and equipping its fleets by impressing the ships of mer- 
chants, and seamen to man them. In the feudal ages, 
indeed, the claim had been asserted much farther, and the 
right of impressment exerted in respect to every descrip- 
tion of force, as the public service required, including even 
the members of the medical profession. \ But with the 
growth of a permanent national marine, the impressment 
of merchant ships could only be necessary as transports, 
and the practice had been narrowed down to the employ- 
ment of press-gangs for the procurement of common 
sailors. Fortified by the opinions of the law-officers of 
the crown, the ministers had repeatedly asserted ,the right 
of extending the right of this odious practice to the colo- 
nies. The claim, however, had been uniformly resisted 
by the people;, and nowhere more strenuously than in Vir- 
ginia, — held at the time to be the most loyal .of ,tb.e pro- 
vinces. Indeed it was in Virginia, that the first act 
of resistance to the practice was made, and in every 
instance in which the right was attempted to be put in 
exercise, the officers of the crown were defeated by popular 
interposition. 2 No experiment of the kind, however, Jiad 
as yet been made in New England; and the honor of the 
first attempt, and of experiencing a .signal defeat, was 

1 It appears from Rymer's Fcedera, that king Henry V, in 1417, authorized 
John Morstede, to press as many surgeons as he thought necessary for the 
French expedition, together with persons to make their instruments. It is 
also true, and appears in the same book of records, that with the army which 
won the day at Agincourt, there had landed only one surgeon, the same John 
Morstede, who indeed did engage to send fifteen more for the arm y, three of 
which, however, were to act as archers ! With such a professional scarcity, 
what must have been the state of the wounded on the day of battle? — 
Andrews's Great Britain. 

2 Grahame, — who says that Franklin was the first writer by whom its. inde- 
fensible injustice was demonstrated. 

41 



322 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, reserved for Commodore Knowles, then governor of Cape 
vm. , 

w^ Breton, and the successor of Sir Peter Warren in the naval 

1747 > command of the American station. Visiting the waters of 
Massachusetts with his squadron, and lying at Nantasket 
about the middle of November, the commodore lost a num- 
ber of his sailors by desertion, the places of whom he 
determined to supply by a vigorous act of impressment in 
Boston. Detaching a number of boats to the town at an 
early hour in the morning, a sweep was made of all the 
seamen found on board the vessels lying at the wharves, 
and also of a number of ship carpenters, with their appren- 
tices, together with several landsmen. The act was execut- 
ed with such suddenness that the men were far down the 
bay on their way to the fleet, when the transaction had 
become generally known to the people. But when known, 
such a popular fermentation ensued as had never before 
taken place in Boston. All classes of the people were 
greatly excited ; but the rage of the lower classes knew no 
bounds. Siezing whatever arms they could find, spears, 
clubs, pitchforks and guns, the mob rushed together, deter- 
mined upon vengeance, or a rescue, or both. A lieutenant 
of the fleet falling first within their power, was siezed, and 
would have been treated with violence but for the inter- 
position of the speaker of the provincial legislature, then 
in session, who assured the multitude that this officer had 
not been concerned in the transaction. The next move- 
ment of the mob was directed against the house of the 
governor, Shirley, who was at the very time entertaining 
several captains of the fleet. Of these officers the rioters 
resolved to demand satisfaction, and the house was speedily 
surrounded by the infuriated legion. The officers within 
doors being supplied with fire-arms, determined to defend 
themselves, and there would doubtless have been a serious 
effusion of blood, had not a number of the more consider- 
ate citizens insinuated themselves among the rioters, and 
dissuaded them from the commission of actual violence. 
Among the peace-officers on duty was a deputy sheriff, 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 323 

who was irreverently siezed and borne off to the stocks, chap. 
with the practical use of which invention he was made ^-v— ' 
acquainted, both his legs being made fast therein. There 174L 
was a dash of the ludicrous in this exploit, of the " sove- 
reigns," creating merriment, and serving for a while to 
moderate, though it did not appease their anger. The 
deepening of the twilight into night, however, was a signal 
for renewed outrages, and the deliberations of the legisla- 
ture, or general court, as it was called, were disturbed by 
the breaking of their windows, and other riotous proceed- 
ings. The governor, with several distinguished gentlemen 
and counsellors, ascended to the balcony, whence they 
addressed the people in the most soothing and considerate 
manner, — rebuking their turbulence, it is true, but at the 
same time expressing strong disapprobation of the outrage 
of which they complained, and promising their utmost 
exertions to obtain the discharge of every man who had 
been kidnapped and carried away. But the tempest was 
not to be thus easily hushed, and the arrest and detention 
of every officer of the squadron in town, was demanded as 
the only measure that would answer the purpose. Such 
being the temper of the populace, it was judged advisable 
that the governor should withdraw from the scene of 
tumult to his own house, — to which he was accompanied 
by several officers, civil and military, and also by a small 
party of personal friends. Meantime it was bruited that a 
barge had come up to the town from the fleet, whereupon 
the rioters rushed headlong to the wharf to sieze it. The 
report was not true, for no such barge had arrived. Yet 
the populace thought otherwise, and a huge boat, lying at 
the dock, belonging to a Scotch merchantman, was taken 
by mistake, and drawn through the street, as though no 
heavier than a birchen canoe. It was at first resolved to 
kindle a bonfire with this unlucky craft in front of the 
governor's house ; but a suggestion that lighting a fire there 
would jeopard the town, the mob drew away, and indulged 
their heated design in a place of greater security. Thus 



324 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, ended the proceedings of the first day. On the next, the 
>— ^ governor Ordered the militia under arms for the preservation 
1747. f the peace ; but the drummers were interrupted in heat- 
ing to arms, and the militia, with a surprising degree of 
unanimity, refused to parade. Several of the British offi- 
cers on shore had been siezed by the populace, by whom 
they were retained as hostages. Of this number was Cap- 
tain Erskine, of the Canterbury. He was taken in Roxbiiry, 
but was speedily liberated on giving his parole not to go on 
board until the difficulty should be adjusted. Such being the 
temper of the people, — the entire militia refusing obedience 
to their ofiicers, — -it was thought expedient, as well for the 
personal security, as for the power, of the governor, whose 
authority was thus virtually suspended, that he should 
retire to the castle — Fort William. From this place Mr. 
Shirley wrote to Commodore Knowles, informing him of 
the high exasperation into which the people had been 
thrown by his proceedings, and urging an immediate 
release of the persons impressed, as the only means of 
restoring the public tranquility. But the commodore 
declined even to entertain the proposition Until those of 
his ofiicers who had been caught on shore should be liberat- 
ed. The first suggestion of Knowles was to land a body 
of marines to aid the governor in quelling the disturbances ; 
but Shirley was too wise a man, and understood too well 
the character of the New England people to second such a 
proposition. The commodore thereupon became enraged, 
and threatened to burn the town, — directing at the same 
time certain movements of his ships which for a few hours 
caused much uneasiness. During the eighteenth and nine- 
teenth days of the month the town was under the entire 
control of the mob, — the general court feeling reluctant to 
interpose, even for the preservation of order, lest their 
action should be construed as favoring the conduct of 
Knowles. The provocation had been great ; and although 
the prevailing spirit of insubordination was indefensiblej 
yet it was regarded by every American with greatly miti- 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 325 

gated displeasure. Still, the danger of allowing the town chap. 
longer to remain under the sway of an infuriated populace, ^-v— ' 
and the impropriety of leaving the governor, whose con- 1747, 
duct had not only been wise and patriotic, but blameless, 
thus unsupported, was perceived before the close of the 
day last mentioned, and a series of resolutions was adopted 
by the house of representatives, strongly condemning the 
tumultuous proceedings of the people ; pledging themselves, 
their lives and estates, to sustain the executive authority ; 
but at the same time declaring that they should put forth 
their utmost exertions to redress the grievances which had 
provoked the riots. Simultaneously with this procedure 
the council passed an order for restoring Captain Erskine 
and the other officers in actual custody, to their liberty, 
and declaring them to be under the protection of the gov- 
ernment,— ^which order was concurred in by the house of 
representatives. These measures had the effect of allaying 
the excitement, and the rioters soon began to disperse. A 
town meeting was holden in the afternoon ; and although 
it was urged by the less discreet portion of the assemblage 
that a suppression of the tumults would have the effect of 
encouraging his 'majesty's naval commanders in the com- 
mission of similar outrages in future, yet the counsels of 
the more prudent prevailed, and the town, by solemn vote, 
condemned alike the riotous proceedings of the people, 
and the injury and insult by which those proceedings had 
been provoked. Not anticipating so favorable a turn of 
affairs, so soon, the governor had made preparations for 
calling to his assistance the provincial troops of the circum- 
jacent towns, horse and foot ; but on the following morning 
the militia of Boston paraded spontaneously, and many 
citizens were in arms who had seldom been seen in arms 
before. In the course of the day the governor was escorted 
from the castle back to his house with great parade, and 
law and order resumed their wonted sway. Commodore 
Knowles dismissed all, or nearly all, the subjects of the 
impress, and sailed for Louisburg, to the great and irre- 



326 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap- pressible joy of the people. 1 But his sovereign had little 
v-v— < cause to thank him for an act which awoke a spirit that 
1747# slumbered not until the richest jewel was torn from his 
diadem. 

There remains little more to be written of the border 
troubles of New York during the year 1747. Small parties 
of the enemy continued to hover about the new settlements 
until the depth of winter, and several additional murders 
were committed. One of their autumnal forays was me- 
lancholy and bloody. A party of woodmen, engaged in 
cutting timber, about four miles west of Schenectady, was 
fallen upon, and thirty-nine of their number killed. Along 
the confines of Massachusetts and New Hampshire these 
murders or assassinations were yet more frequent during 
the autumn than in New York. Skirmishes between the 
enemy and the borderers, w r ere common, and in one of 
these a French officer of some consideration, named Pierre 
Ramboert, was wounded and taken. 1 

Late in November, Governor Clinton pressed the com- 
mand of the northern frontier upon Colonel Johnson. 
The people were strongly in favor of that appointment 2 and 
it was ultimately accepted. But aside from this command, 
the colonel had full employment upon his hands for the 
winter, independently of his Indian charge. The militia 
of Albany county, then embracing all the northern and 
western settlements beyond Ulster and Dutchess, had fallen 
into a state of sad demoralization ; and to Colonel John- 
son Mr. Clinton entrusted the duty of effecting a complete 
reorganization. All confidence was reposed in him ; 
and in the removal of incompetent officers, and the appoint- 
ment of new ones, his word was law. " Send down a list 
immediately, of those you think proper, and look upon it 
as done." * 

1 Hutchinson. Grahame. 

2 Hoyt's Antiquities. -^ 
8 Manuscript letter of Jacob Glen. 

4 Manuscript letter ; Major Rutherford, of the executive council, to Colonel 
Johnson. 



CHAPTER IX. 
1748. 
Colonel Johnson had now become, through his own tact 

. CHAP- 

and the influence of Governor Clinton, a prominent man ix. 
in the affairs of the colony. In February, he accepted the ^^ 
command of the New York colonial troops for the defence 
of the frontiers — a circumstance which affords another 
proof of the high favor in which he was held by the gov- 
ernor. Though still continuing the traffic in furs, and by 
no means neglecting his mercantile pursuits, he devoted 
himself more assiduously, not only to political matters, but 
also to the management of the Indian department over 
which he had for the last two years had the control. 
Becoming favorably known both to the colony and the 
British government, he now assumed, as better suited to 
his improved standing, more dignity in his appointments, 
his manner of living, and his intercourse with the Indians. 
It was about this period, although I have not been able 
to learn the exact date, that Colonel Johnson employed as 
his housekeeper, Mary Brant, or Miss Molly, as she was 
called, a sister of the celebrated Indian chief Thayendane- 
gea, with whom he lived until his decease, and by whom he 
had several children. 1 This circumstance is thus mentioned 

1 That Molly Brant was not the wife of the Baronet, is fully proved by his 
last will, (published in appendix to vol. ii.) in which, after desiring to have 
the "remains of his beloved wife Catherine," interred beside him, he speaks 
of the "children of my present housekeeper, Mary Brant," as his "natural 
children." It is, however, but justice to Molly Brant, to state that she 
always regarded herself as married to the Baronet after the Indian fashion. 

The traditions of the Mohawk valley state that the acquaintance of 
Colonel Johns on with Molly, had a rather wild and romantic commencement. 
The story was, that she was a very sprightly and a very beautiful Indian 
girl of about sixteen, when he first saw her. It was at a regimental militia 



328 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

c^p. by Mrs. Grant in her entertaining book. "Becoming a 
n—v — ' widower in the prime of life, he connected himself with an 
1748. i nc ii ail maiden, daughter to a sachem, who possessed an un- 
commonly agreeable person and good understanding ; and 
whether ever formally married to him according to our usage 
or not, continued to live with him in great union and affec- 
tion all his life." Colonel Johnson himself repeatedly 
speaks of this Indian lady in his private journal. During 
his expedition to Detroit entries occur in which he speaks 
of having received news from home, and of having written 
to Molly. He always mentioned her kindly. Thus under 
date of Wednesday, October 2,1st, 1759, he Writes : 

" Met Sir Robert Davis and Captain Etherington, who 
gave me a packet of letters from General Amherst. Cap- 
tain Etherington told me Molly was delivered of a girl and 
all were well at my house, where they stayed ten days." 

Molly, as has already been stated, was the sister of 
Thayendanegea, and both, according to the account in the 
London Magazine of 1776, the earliest printed testimony 
upon the subject, were the grand-children of one of the 
Mohawk chiefs, who visited England half a century before. 
That her father was a chief, several authorities have like- 
wise been cited to show; to which may be added Allen's 
Biographical Dictionary, where the fact is positively as- 
serted. l 

By thus forming an alliance with the family of an influ- 

muster, where Molly was one pf a multitude of spectators. One of the field 
ofiieers coming near her upon a prancing steed, by way of banter she asked 
permission to mount behind him. Not supposing she could perform the 
exploit, he said she might. At. the word she leaped upon the crupper with 
the agility of a gazelle. The horse sprang off at full speed, and, clinging 
to the officer, her blanket flying, and her dark tresses streaming in the wind, 
she flew about the parade ground swift as an arrow, to the infinite merriment 
of the collected multitude. The colonel, who was a witness of the spectacle, 
admiring the spirit of the young squaw, and becoming enamored of her per- 
son, brought her to his house. 

1 President Allen was connected by marriage with the family of the late 
President Wheelock, and has had excellent opportunities for arriving at the 
probable truth. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 329 

ential and powerful chieftain, Colonel Johnson evidently ch^p 
aimed at a more extended influence over the Indians. Nor >— v— ' 
did the result disappoint him ; for in this alliance and in 1748 - 
his custom of mingling among them in his familiar way, 
is doubtless to be found the secret of his extraordinary 
ascendency over the fickle red men of the forest. 

Meantime a new assembly had been chosen, which the 
governor met upon the twelfth of February. The election, 
however, had made but few changes in the composition of 
that body ; all the former leaders being returned, and Mr. 
Jones consequently again presented for his excellency's 
approbation as speaker. The opening speech of the 
governor was conciliatory. He announced that the conven- 
tion agreed upon between the commissioners of New York, 
Massachusetts and Connecticut, had been ratified by the 
first and last mentioned of those colonies, and by the legis- 
lature of Massachusetts, with the exception of a single 
article, which his excellency did not conceive to be very 
material. The place of the cordon of rangers provided 
for by that article, the governor thought, could be supplied 
by strong parties of Indians. Notwithstanding the abortive 
effects of the two preceding years to achieve the invasion 
of Canada, and the strangely vascillating conduct of the 
ministry upon this important subject, measures to that end 
were again proposed, and the necessary means suggested, 
with as much confidence as though there had been no dis- 
appointment. The disbanding of the forces at Albany had 
necessarily discouraged the Indians, who had regarded the 
measure as a want either of courage or strength, and the 
French had not been slow to avail themselves of the oppor- 
tunity again to sow the seeds of disaffection among them — 
particularly the Senecas and Onondagas. Measures were 
therefore advised for regaining the hearty cooperation of 
their people. The death of Mr. Bleecker, long the govern- 
ment interpreter in its intercourse with the Indians, and the 
appointment of Arent Stevens in his place was announced. 
The government was indebted to Colonel Johnson for 

42 



330 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, various advances of money, and he had given notice that 
*-v— ' such was the increased cost of provisioning the garrison of 
1748. Oswego, that he could no longer perform that service with- 
out an advance upon the terms of his contract of two hun- 
dred pounds per annum. The fortifications of Albany need- 
ed repairs, and several of the forts were short of ammunition. 
The attention of the assembly was also called to the fact 
that no provision had been made at the last session for 
paying the salaries of the officers of the government. 
Other suggestions connected with the public service were 
made in the speech, one of which was the employment of 
a smith for the benefit of the Indians at Oswego. Finally 
he recommended that they should make immediate pro- 
vision for rewarding those Indians who had acted as scouts 
for transporting the new levies to Albany, victualing them 
in the Mohawk's country, removing cannon from Saratoga 
to Albany, and also for the salary of a commanding officer 
to the troops raised by the province. 

It would appear that the dissolution of the assembly had, 
for a time, at least, produced a better state of feeling in 
the new assembly than in the previous one. The answer 
of the council was moved by Chief Justice DeLancey ; that 
of the assembly was reported by Mr. Clarkson ; and both 
were conceived in a better spirit, and couched in much 
more respectful language than had been usual for some 
time past. In the address of. the house to the governor 
upon the eighteenth, the assembly assured his excellency 
of their readiness to enter immediately upon the consider- 
ation of the different matters which he had submitted to 
them, and to make provision for such supplies as were 
essential to the well being and security of the colony. Two 
days afterward, however, as if they feared that they had 
conceded too much, and wished therefore to counteract it 
by thwarting the favorite scheme of the governor, the 
committee of the whole on his speech, reported it as their 
opinion, that to follow out the plan proposed by Massachu- 
setts, would be contrary to the purposes of the agreement, 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 331 

and therefore that the house ought not to accede to the chap. 
alteration. < s_^_/ 

The temper of the assembly, however, as before remarked, 1748 - 
was much more tractable ; and at this sitting, several 
resolutions were passed in favor of repairing the dif- 
ferent fortifications along the frontiers, stationing a larger 
garrison at Oswego, defraying the expenses of the gun- 
smiths stationed among the Indians, paying the rangers 
employed as scouts, building block houses, and other plans 
of a like character. Two hundred pounds were also voted 
to Colonel Johnson, for the extraordinary charges to which 
he had been subjected in supplying the garrison of Oswego 
with provisions, and an appropriation made for the payment 
of the salaries of the officers of the government, but to 
which was attached " a reward of one hundred and fifty 
pounds to Mr. Horsmanden, for his late controversial labors, 
under the pretext of drafting their bills, and other public 
service." 1 

The most important act of the session, however, was an 
appropriation of two hundred pounds per annum for the 
compensation of an agent, to reside in the parent capital, 
to solicit in the concerns of the colony. The appointment 
of such an agent had been previously recommended ; and 
though successful at last by a unanimous vote, it might not 
have been, but from the design of the house to employ an 
agent who should be under its own direction, and whose 
office, at least in part, should be to thwart the views of the 
governor at home. The enactment was so shaped as cau- 
tiously to deprive the governor even of a concurrent power 
in making the appointment ; and indeed the agent, Robert 
Charles, was named and his first instructions actually 
given, a few hours before the house was summoned into 
the presence of the governor to witness, previous to the 
adjournment, his assent to the bills that had been passed. 
These instructions are in part inscribed upon the journals 
of the assembly ; while another portion may be found in 

1 Journals of the colonial assembly, Smith Hist. New York. 



332 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, the appendix to the second volume of Smith, being a letter 

v-^w to Charles from the speaker, Jones. They will be found 

!748. to sustain the opinion already advanced, viz : that the agent 

was to be the instrument of the assembly against the 

governor. 

This course of action has been attributed to a desire on 
the part of the DeLancey family to supplant Mr. Clinton 
with the view of bringing Sir Peter Warren into the execu- 
tive chair ; and color is given to the suggestion by the fact 
that Mr. Charles was enjoined " in the execution of his 
instructions, always to take the advice of Sir Peter Warren 
if in England." } DeLancey, the chief justice, was like- 
wise ambitious ; and it is not unlikely that he might have 
cherished such a design in favor of his brother-in-law*? 
but I have found no evidence that Sir Peter Warren him- 
self was a party to any such intrigue. Why should he 
have been ? The measure of his naval glory was full. He 
was now a member of the imperial parliament, in the 
enjoyment of a princely estate, and withal in a bad state 
of health* The governorship of the colony of New York, 
therefore, could have been no object with him, even should 
he be able to compete with success against the Newcastle 
interest by which Mr. Clinton was sustained. 

Meanwhile the Indians of the Six Nations, true to their 
wavering character, upon hearing that the expedition 
against Canada had been given up, had become exceedingly 
discontented. Added to this, an express arrived at New 
York on the seventeenth of Pebrurary, bearing advices to 
the governor from Colonel Johnson of an alarming nature. 
Intelligence had been recently brought in by scouts, so 
Johnson wrote, that an expedition was fitting out in Cana- 
da against the settlements, but whether the blow was to 
fall upon Albany, Schenectady, or the Mohawks, could not 
be ascertained. Advices were also received on the twenty- 
second, from Lieutenant Lindesay, the commanding officer 

1 Letter of Speaker Jones to Mr. Charles, April 9th, 1748. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 333 

at Oswego, stating that his scouts reported that a French chap. 
army was marching to attack that post. The whole *_ v _, 
country, but especially the border, was kept in a state 1748 - 
of great terror for several days. Nor was the panic con- 
fined to the sparsely peopled settlements. It extended 
to Albany, and so great was the fear of the inhabit- 
ants, that Colonel Schuyler ordered into the city for 
its defence, several companies of the militia, who were 
quartered in the neighboring districts. 1 While affairs were 
in this harrassing state, Colonel Johnson wrote to Governor 
Clinton that the governor of Canada, through the instru- 
mentality of the Jesuit missionaries, was pressing upon the 
Six Nations warm invitations to visit him in Montreal, and 
by every means in his power was endeavoring to seduce 
those Indians from their alliance with the English. Nor 
had these artifices been entirely without effect, for the 
Indians, especially the Onondagas, were already wavering, 
and were even now manifesting alarming symptoms of 
defection. 

In this exigency, the governor, at the suggestion of Shir- 
ley, immediately wrote to Colonel Johnson, directing him 
to proceed forthwith into the Indian country attended by a 
strong guard. The note of preparation for this visit is 
given in the following letter : 

Colonel Johnson to Captain Catherwood — (Extract.) 

"Albany, April 9, 1748. 
u ***** j am g0 jnuc^ hurried with settlinsr 
my affairs before I go, that I declare I have not time to 
write a line. I intend to set off" next Thursday from my 
house, with a guard of fifty men, Captain Thomas Butler, 
and Lieutenant Laurie, officers. We shall have a fatiguing 
journey of it, and I reckon pretty dangerous; fori am 
informed by Hendrik's son, that the French at Cadaracqui, 
having heard of my intention by Jean Cceur, were quite 
uneasy at the news, and said they would prevent it — an 

2 Manuscript letter Colonel Schuyler to Governor Clinton. 



334 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, attempt wliicli I think very likely, as it would be of great 
wy—/ consequence to them. The worst of it is, we must march 
1748. f or above one hundred miles on foot to go through all their 
castles by the way, in order to talk to some of the most 
obstinate of them privately before the meeting, which is 
the only way I could ever find to gain a point with this 
sort of people. I reckon I shall have a great deal of trouble 
to overset all that the French have been doing since last 
fall. However, I shall leave no stone unturned to accom- 
plish what I go at, either by fair or foul means, for if they 
are obstinate, — I mean the Onondagas, — I shall certainly 
talk very harsh to them, and try what that will do. I hope 
to return in about three weeks, (if nothing extraordinary 
happens,) when I trust I shall be able to give his excellency 
an agreeable account of my progress. I also hope his 
excellency will not omit writing to me if anything of con- 
sequence occurs. It will be the time to hear good news 
when among them all, — especially of an expedition going 
on, which would cheer up all their drooping spirits. If 
the governor and Governor Shirley intend to come soon, it 
would be very proper to give me timely notice, in order to 
prepare the Indians for a meeting. I hope the assembly 
will not be so unconscionable as to expect I should take the 
command of these companies without a salary. But I leave 
that, and the affair of the regiment entirely to his excel- 
lency and you, to do as you think proper against I come 
back. As to the latter, I assure you it is in a bad way, as 
also is the watch of Albany." 

The orders given to Colonel Johnson were, to erect 
forts for the protection of the Indian women and children ; 
and by the judicious distribution of presents, to arrest 
this defection, and thus counteract the insidious influ- 
ence of the Jesuit priests. The governor farther direct- 
ed him " to keep the Indians with some Christians contin- 
ually engaged in skirmishing and in hostile acts against 
the enemy;" hoping that in this manner the Indians 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 335 

might be led to forget their dissappointment. 1 But these chap. 
were not the only objects aimed at in this journey. Oolo-v-^— j 
nel Johnson was moreover particularly instructed to ascer- 1 ' 48 - 
tain the temper of the Six Nations towards the English; 
and if possible persuade their sachems to attend a grand 
council to be held shortly at Albany at a time not as yet 
designated. 

Upon the reception of these orders, a council of all the 
chiefs and warriors of the Six Nations was summoned by 
Colonel Johnson to meet him around the central council 
fire at Onondaga ; and it appears to have been pretty well 
attended. Whatever of doubt or distrust, moreover, the 
colonel might have previously entertained as to his proba- 
ble reception, he certainly had no cause of complaint 
upon that head. Being the bearer of presents to a consi- 
derable amount, in goods and provisions, which were neces- 
sarily transported by bateaux, his advance was slow. In- 
deed the assemblage at Onondaga, had been well nigh 
dissolved the day before his arrival, from sheer hunger. 
But the colonel was well received at all the castles on the 
route, and his arrival at Onondaga, on the twenty-fourth 
of April, was greeted by the display of English colors and 
a salute of fire-arms, which was returned by his guards. 
He was attended by the principal chiefs to a large house 
prepared for his reception, spread with new mats, and 
three others of their bark houses, were appropriated to 
his attendants. In about an hour afterwards all the 
sachems of the Confederacy waited upon the colonel in a 
body, and welcomed him in a general speech, delivered 
by an Onondaga sachem named Gan-ugh-sa-dea-gah, — 
" thanking the Great Spirit that he had been spared to 
come among them at this bloody time." They apologized 
for the "miserable poor condition" in which he had found 
them, owing to the fact that by the directions of the 
English they had now been kept two years from their 
hunting, in the expectation of being employed upon the 

1 Manuscript letter from Governor Clinton to Colonel Johnson. 



336 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

ch^vp. war-path, — " and that" said the sachem, " all for nothing, 
v— , — < as we see no sign of your doing anything with your army 
1/48 - as we expected." They had now assembled, pursuant to 
a belt which he had sent them, " in their present hungry 
condition having nothing to eat," to hear what he had to 
say, and to thank him for the supplies they had brought, 
" although the day before," being quite out of patience 
and hungered," they had resolved to break up and go 
home." Colonel Johnson thanked them for the kind 
welcome they had given him, but being too much fatigued 
to enter upon business then, he deferred them until the 
next day, adding — " So I hope you will be easy in your 
minds, and content yourselves so long, and I will this 
night provide a feast for your sachems, and another for 
the warriors and dancers, who I hope will be merry, as it 
will be my greatest pleasure to see them and make them 
so." 

On the following day the colonel met them in grand 
council, and imparted the business which had called him 
thither in a general speech, prepared after the usual pattern 
of Indian diplomacy. He told them that he had found in 
some of the old writings of our forefathers which were 
thought to have been lost, an old and valuable record, 
containing an account of the manner in which the first 
friendship between their respective ancestors had com- 
menced on the arrival of "the first great canoe" at Albany. 
As that canoe contained many things that pleased the 
Indians, they resolved to tie it fast to the strongest tree 
on the bank of the river, by a great rope, that the great- 
est care might be taken of it. But on farther considera- 
tion, fearing that the tree might be blown down, it was 
thought safest to make a long rope and tie it fast at Onon- 
daga, and the rope put under their feet, that in case of any 
danger to the canoe, by the shaking of the rope, they 
might all rise as one man, and see what the matter was. 
Afterward, that their covenant of friendship might be the 
stronger, the governor had provided a long silver chain 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 337 

instead of the rope, that it might never break, or slip, or chap. 
rust. This chain was to hind both peoples together, as of v_ v _, 
one head, one heart, one blood ; and whenever it became 1748 - 
rusty, it was to be immediately brightened up again, that 
the covenant might be perpetual. Having thus figura- 
tively rehearsed the history of the ancient alliance, Colonel 
Johnson proceeded with directness to the object of his 
visit. He told them that the French had emissaries among 
them, who were endeavoring to blindfold them, and per- 
suade them to slip their hands out of that chain, which, 
as their wise forefathers had told them would certainly be 
the destruction of them all. He conjured them therefore 
to listen no longer to their deceitful enemies, whose object 
in the end, would be to destroy them all. In answer to 
their complaint that for two days all their roads had been 
stopped by the orders of the English — in other words that 
they had been kept from hunting, — the colonel told them 
they had misunderstood the belt he had sent them. He 
had only meant to stop the road leading to Canada. He 
informed them that the governors of New York and Mas- 
sachusetts, to their great concern, had heard of their 
determination soon to go that way again, contrary to their 
engagements, and he told them explicitly, that he had 
been sent by those governors to stop their going. It was 
the wish, both of the governors and himself, that they 
should act for their own interests, and go in whatever 
direction they pleased excepting to Canada. On no consi- 
deration whatever should they offer to go there. 

The plea of the Indians for their present desire to send 
a mission to Canada was, that several of their " flesh and 
blood" were in Montreal, chained and imprisoned, and 
they wished to go thither " and get them back;" but the 
colonel told them they had better leave that matter to their 
brethren the English, who would be most likely to succeed. 
He then rebuked them sharply for a transaction of the 
preceding year. They had then expressed a strong 
desire to send an embassy to Canada, to persuade their 

43 



338 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

ch^p. " flesh and blood," the Caughnawagas, to leave the French, 
^ — - and return to their own country and kindred ; and at their 
1747 - solicitation, hostilities were to be suspended during their 
absence — they promising to return within a month. But 
instead of that, tney staid in Canada the whole summer, 
and brought back none of their " flesh and blood" when 
they finally returned. True to his engagement the colo- 
nel had kept all the warriors of the Six Nations at home 
during their absence, and the consequence was that the 
lives of several of his people had been lost by the incur- 
sions of the Canada Indians, and he told the Onondagas 
plainly that he had no doubt they had seen their scalps. 
Indeed he charged them with having feigned the errand to 
the Caughnawagas, for the purpose of giving them an 
opportunity to talk with the French governor ; but he 
warned them not to set their faces that way again. 

Thus far Colonel Johnson told them, the Six Nations 
had not hurt the Caughnawagas during the war ; and yet 
some of their principal men had lately been murdered in 
the open fields by the Caughnawagas and the French. 
" The Frenchman's axe is therefore sticking fast in our 
heads day after day." By this barbarous act, it was ren- 
dered very plain that the French aimed at nothing short 
of their destruction, which, he insisted, had ever been 
their design, " as you all," said he, "by sorrowful experi- 
ence have formerly seen and felt, when they used to destroy 
your castles, and sacrifice such numbers of your predeces- 
sors, that large heaps of their bones yet lie scattered over 
your whole country. This consideration alone ought to 
be sufficient to stir up everlasting resentment in your 
bosoms against such a barbarous people ; and it would, if 
there was the least spark of that Great Spirit in you, for 
which your brave ancestors were noted through the world. 
If you are worthy of those ancestors you will now use the 
axe against them which you have had so long in your 
hands. 

Before closing his speech, the colonel repeated his suspi- 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 339 

cions of their friendly intentions toward the French, and c ^ p " 
warned them against any farther duplicity. They must Wy— - 
either drop the French entirely and stand by their own 1748 * 
brothers, or declare themselves at once and explicitly, if 
the contrary was their determination. In conclusion, 
however, he informed them of the liberal disposition 
entertained toward them by the governor, and by their 
great father the king. He had now orders to build forts 
in their country for the defence of their towns and castles 
while their braves were absent in the war ; and he had the 
pleasure farther to inform them that the king had 
sent a quantity of goods as presents for those of them who 
were hearty in his cause. These presents were expected 
shortly to arrive, and it was his desire that their nations 
should meet the governor at Albany, there to receive them. 
The council-fire was then raked up until the next day, 
when the sachems delivered their answer ; and even if 
they had been meditating treachery, either the decided 
tone in which Colonel Johnson had spoken, or the promis- 
ed presents, or perhaps the influence of both, had wrought 
sa favorable change in their temper as could have been 
desired. They admitted that they had been tampered 
with by the French, " who had used a great deal of art," 
but promised that their friendship for the English, should 
never be dropped. They nevertheless thought it hard and 
cruel that they should not be allowed to go to Canada for 
their "flesh and blood," rotting and dying in irons, when 
their release had been offered if they would go for them. 
"Had you," they said, "got them from thence as you did 
your own people, we should not have thought of going to 
Canada as friends, but in another manner." However, as 
the colonel promised that efforts should be made to pro- 
cure the release of the Indian captives in exchange for 
French prisoners, they would not look that way any 
longer. Yet they begged earnestly that their brother 
would make haste in this matter. They explained the 
reason of their long detention when on a mission to 



340 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Canada, the summer before. While they were in Montreal, 
%— v— ' news came that the Six Nations had killed and taken seve- 
1748. ra j French people, upon which they were ordered to Que- 
bec to be imprisoned. They were detained ninety-two 
days, at the end of which they were permitted to return, 
but with only two of their warriors who were prisoners. 
The governor would release no more, but told them he 
would give them all up if they would come again this 
spring, unless in the meantime the Six Nations should 
make war, in which event he would put them all to death. 
"Now," said the governor " as we have told you all about 
this affair, we hope you will not blame us as you have 
done, but be assured our resolution is to live and die by 
you. We listen to you with open ears and mind what 
you say, you may depend upon it. And we hope you will 
not make a doubt of it that our firm resolution is, to keep 
up in every step, to the rules laid down by our forefathers. 
And as we have your axe so long in hand, we assure you 
that we have been, ever since we last took it up, always 
ready to make use of it in conjunction with you and will 
ever continue so." Recurring in the course of their 
speech to the same idea of having had the axe so long in 
their heads again, the sachem proceeded as follows : 
" Brother, we were in hopes to have used the axe before 
now to some purpose, as you told us two years ago that 
you were then ready to march with your army against 
Canada. But instead of an army you only sent out small 
parties, several of whom were by that means cut to pieces. 
Had you gone on-iwith your army and ships, as you told 
us you would, and assisted us properly to get over the 
foreign Indians to our interest, who offered their service, 
then We should have been able with the loss of a few men 
to have driven the French and his allies into the great 
lakes and drowned them. But as you have not done that, 
which we are sorry for, we tell you now, brother, according 
to your desire, we used what interest we could that way, 
and have gained a considerable number of the foreign 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 341 

Indians who were ready to join you, and us. But there is c ^ p - 
no sign of an army now, nor the encouragement given to - — » — ' 
them which they expected. "We cannot pretend to say 
now what they will do." 

This rebuke of the English for the feeble manner in which 
the war had been conducted, notwithstanding all the bust- 
ling preparations of the two preceding years, was not 
undeserved. 

The sachems closed their address by warm expressions 
of thanks to Colonel Johnson for his care over them, and 
for the presents he had brought. They also promised to 
meet the governor at his call ; and in conclusion, the colonel 
assured them that he should inform the governor of w T hat 
had taken place "with a cheerful heart." 1 

Yet in transmitting the proceedings to the governor, the 
colonel avowed his decided belief that no restraint that 
should be at once wholesome and permanent, could be 
imposed upon the Indians, unless by strong legislation, 
unprincipled white men could be prevented from hastening 
their destruction by the "accursed traffic of rum." 

The idea of a grand council, to be held at Albany the 
ensuing summer, had been long in contemplation both by 
Governor Clinton and Governor Shirley. 2 Strangely 
enough, moreover, considering the course of the ministers 
in terminating the military demonstrations of the preceding 
autumn, and ordering the disbanding of the troops, a letter 
was received from the Duke of Newcastle, in February, 
addressed to Governors Shirley and Clinton, urging in the 
strongest terms, the importance of destroying the French 
settlement at Crown Point— ^an object, it need not be here 
repeated, long entertained by the colonies, and the achieve- 
ment of which, had only been prevented by the indecision, 
if not the weakness of ministers. They were also directed 
in the same despatch, to do everything in their power to 

J For a full account of the proceedings of this council, see journals of the 
council board. 

2 Letter from Governor Shirley to Governor Clinton — London documents 

XXX. 



342 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

ch£p. secure the steady attachment of the Six Nations to the 
s_^— > king's interests — to which end the necessary presents were 
1748. fa j^ provided at the expense of the crown. This com- 
munication from the ministers only hastened the carrying 
out of the proposed council ; and on the twenty-eighth of 
March, Governor Clinton being indisposed. Chief Justice 
De Lancey, by his order, laid before the council the 
duke of Newcastle's letter. The letter having been 
referred to a committee, the suggestions contained in it 
were fully approved, and an expedition against Crown Point 
recommended as best calculated to secure the Six Nations 
in the interests of the crown. The committee farther 
seconded, without a dissenting voice, the project of holding 
a council with the Indians during the ensuing summer, 
and suggested that the governor should send down a mes- 
sage to the house asking for its cheerful acquiescence in 
these plans. In accordance, therefore, with this advice, 
the governor sent a me ssage to the assembly, urging upon 
its consideration these suggestions of the council, and 
asking for immediate action. On the next day a committee 
of the whole house reported favorably upon the message. 
They acknowledged the kindness of his majesty in directing 
that the Indians should be protected at the expense of the 
crown ; they proposed that the provinces should unite with 
each other in every well concerted scheme for defence ; 
and suggested that provision should be made to enable the 
commissioners of the different provinces to meet together 
and determine upon suitable measures. This report met 
the entire approval of the assembly, and on the same day 
it further brought in a bill for reimbursing the governor 
for the money which he had advanced out of his own funds 
to Colonel Johnson as pay for the scalps which had been 
brought in by the Indians. 

But notwithstanding this seeming disposition on the part 
of the assembly to acquiese in the wishes of the governor, 
all his efforts to second governor Shirley's favorite plan 
for an expedition against Crown Point were fruitless. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 343 

Although the new assembly had not openly opposed the chap. 
governor thus far, yet its apathy showed plainly how little ^— y— ' 
it was its purpose to second vigorously his efforts. In a 1747, 
letter from Governor Clinton to the lords of trade, under 
date of April of this year, the writer complains bitterly of 
this indisposition to second him in his endeavors to pro- 
mote the welfare of the colony ; and alludes in no gentle 
spirit to the continued encroachments of the house on the 
crown, particularly as shown in the appointment of Robert 
Charles as agent for the province without his privity or 
consent. This appointment by the assembly without refer- 
ence to the wishes of the governor, was well calculated to 
exasperate a far less choleric temperament than his ; and 
accustomed as he had been all his life to command, he 
could ill brook the growing spirit of insubordination in 
his legislature. Indeed, this is but another evidence of the 
tendency which was everywhere manifesting itself in the 
colonies, to assert their entire independence of the crown 
in the government of their home affairs. 

The general assembly again met on the sixth of June, 
but was adjourned until the twenty-first. The session 
was opened by a message from the governor, transmitting, 
among other papers, Colonel Johnson's report of the pro- 
ceedings at the Onondaga council. Favorable, however, 
as these proceedings appeared, his excellency said he had 
little hope of preventing their ultimate defection to the 
French, unless some enterprise against the enemy should 
be speedily and resolutely undertaken. He therefore again 
urged an expedition against Crown Point, conjointly with 
the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut, who were 
ready to unite immediately in an attempt for the reduction 
of that post. On the subject of intercourse between the 
traders and the Indians, a strong enactment to prevent the 
sale to the latter of spirituous liquors, and the purchase 
from them of arms, ammunition and clothing, was recom- 
mended. The message farther announced that his excel- 
lency was preparing to meet the Indians at Albany in the 



344 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, course of the ensuing month ; but particularly it called 

^^L the attention of the assembly to the disaffection of the 

1748. Indians on account of the detention of their braves in 

Canada ; urging in view of this, that immediate provision 

be made for the exchange of these prisoners. 

Upon the last mentioned suggestion the assembly acted 
with promptitude ; and a resolution was passed, requesting 
the governor to send a flag of truce to Canada with twenty- 
five French prisoners then confined in New York, together 
with all the prisoners detained at Albany, to be exchanged 
for such of the inhabitants of the colony, and Indians of 
the Six Nations, as were held in captivity by the French, — 
the house pledging itself to defray the expense. But as 
to the other recommendations of the message, a decided 
spirit of reluctance was manifested. The house refused to 
engage with Massachusetts and Connecticut in the pro- 
posed united expedition against Crown Point ;-^instead of 
which they recommended merely that the governor should 
unite with Governor Shirley, and the other governors on 
the continent, in humbly representing to his majesty the 
distressed state of the colonies by reason of the French in 
Canada, and imploring his assistance. 

There had as yet been no collision between Mr. Clinton 
and his new assembly — rendered new only by the process 
of an election, — but however smooth the surface, the 
elements of an outbreak were smouldering beneath. And 
these had well nigh been called info action by a very small 
affair, during the present short session. On the twenty- 
fourth of June, Colonel Beekman, one of the representa- 
tives from the county of Dutchess, brought forward with 
all possible solemnity, a charge against the governor, " of 
such a violation of the laws, and such a grievance upon the 
people, — such an attempt upon their rights and properties, 

as called loudly for redress." The facts adduced by 

Colonel Beekman to sustain this very grievous charge, were 
these : Some of the late levies from Dutchess county, who 
had served on the northern frontier, had sued, and others 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOIINSON, BART. 

were preparing to sue, their captain for their pay ; npon chap* 
which the governor had written to the judge, and Mi-.v^ 
Catherwood, his secretary, to the clerk of the court, and 1748 - 
also to the sheriff, desiring them to put a stop to the pro- 
ceedings. Upon this representation, a committee of inquiry 
was raised, with power to send for persons and papers. 
No sooner, however, had the governor seen the entry of 
these proceedings upon the journals, than he transmitted 
a message of explanation to the house, from which it 
appeared that the suits in question had been instituted by 
sundry deserters who had gone off with his majesty's arms 
and clothing, by reason of which they hac). fortified all pay 
due them from the crown ; and the letters written to the 
officers of the court, merely recommended that a stop 
should be put to the claims of those deserters. "If," said 
the governor, " such a step taken, can, in the most exten- 
sive light, be construed any violation of the laws, or a 
grievance upon the people, it was done through inadver- 
tency ; as I never had an intention to infringe upon any 
man's right or property; and if the people have received 
any damage thereby, I am ready to redress it." No farther 
action was had in the case, and the assembly adjourned on 
the first of July,— not, however, without complying with 
the suggestion of Colonel Johnson, by passing an act more 
effectually to cut off the pernicious traffic in rum with the 
Indians. 

Mr. Clinton's attention was next occupied in prepara- 
tions for his approaching interview with the Indians, at 
which Governor Shirley proposed to be present. Just as 
he was on the point of starting for Albany, however, tidings 
though unofficial, were received from Europe, the nature 
of which would be at once to change the character of the 
negotiations with the Indians, and of which the governor 
wrote thus to Colonel Johnson : 
44 



346 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Governor Clinton to Colonel Johnson. 



1748. 



3 New York, July 5, 1748. 

Sir: 

I have just this moment received yours of the first 
instant, which I have but time to acknowledge by Lieuten- 
ant Cleavland, and send you the enclosed piece of news, 
which I believe will startle you, as it does everybody else ; 
though I think if the Parliament had agreed to the prelimi- 
naries, we must have had orders before this. Upon this 
news I received a letter from Governor Shirley last Satur- 
day, to desire I would postpone my meeting the Indians 
for eight or ten days. Upon that I have sent an express 
to know the difficulty I shall meet in complying, besides 
the danger of making them angry if I don't meet them 
at or about the time appointed. Therefore I was obliged 
to set out, but would defer speaking to them till the 
twentieth instant, in the hope of his being there by that 
time. I set out on Thursday, and expect an answer to my 
express at the manor of Livingston this day sennight, — 
having given him positive orders to be there in the morn- 
ing, and written to Mr. Shirley to despatch him for that 
end. One reason Governor Shirley gives for postponing 
the conference, is, that we may expect some directions from 
home in regard to the Indians, and what it would be proper 
to say to them on this occasion. Adieu in great haste. 
" Yours most sincerely, 

"Geo. Clinton." 
"To ColonelJohnson." 1 

The report proved to be true — the preliminaries of a 
general peace having been signed by the ministers of the 
great powers, at Aix-la-Chapelle in May, as announced by 
the king in closing the session of parliament on the 
thirteenth of that month. The truth was, that all parties 
had become tired of the war, — England, because of the 
prodigious expense she was compelled to incur, not only in 
keeping up her own fleets and armies, but in subsidizing 

1 Manuscript Letter. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 347 

the northern powers of Europe, — an expense so great as chap. 
not to be countermanded by the splendid series of victories v_ ^— > 
which her arms had achieved at sea, and by the glory which 1748 - 
the Duke of Cumberland had won upon the continent. 
The king of France, too, had in the preceding autumn, 
expressed his desire of a pacification in a personal conver- 
sation with Sir John Ligonier, made prisoner by the French 
in the battle of LafFeldt ; and his minister at the Hague 
had subsequently presented a declaration to the same effect 
to the deputies of the States General. \ Nor is it strange 
that the French monarch should have been desirous of 
peace. For notwithstanding the successes of his arms in 
the Netherlands, the victory of Marshall Saxe over the 
confederates at Laffeldt, was accidental, and withal had 
been dearly purchased, while the Marshal de Belleisle, 
though at first successful in Italy, had been checked, and 
his brother, the chevalier, slain in Piedmont, and his large 
army defeated. Everywhere upon the seas the English had 
been victorious. In addition to the loss of the expensive 
armament under the Duke D'Auville, occasioned by sick- 
ness, tempest, and the death of the commander, and the 
victories of Anson and "Warren, of which an account has 
already been given in a former chapter, Commodore Fox 
had, in the month of June of the preceding year, taken 
above forty ships richly laden from St. Domingo, and in 
October following, Admiral Hawkehad achieved his splen- 
did victory over the French fleet commanded by Monsieur 
Letendeur, in the latitude of Belleisle. Letendeur's fleet 
consisted of nine ships of the line, besides frigates, in con- 
voy of a numerous fleet of merchant ships bound from the 
West Indies. A large number of the merchantmen were 
intercepted before their arrival at Martinique, and taken. 
The number of prizes captured by the British cruisers that 
year from the French and Spaniards, was six hundred and 
forty-four — the loss of the English during the same period 
not exceeding four hundred and fifty. 2 

i Smollett. 
2 Smollett. 



348 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BAET. 

chap. These results had been sufficiently discouraging to the 
^-v— 'French monarch, who now knew in addition, that G-reat 
1/48. Britain had at length succeeded in subsidizing the Czarina 
of Russia, who had a large army then on the march to join 
the Duke of Cumberland and the Confederates in the 
Lowlands. Every day France was becoming more and 
more impoverished by the expenses, and the losses of the 
war, while her statesmen were amazed at the resources of 
England, enabling her not only to maintain invincible 
armies and navies, but to subsidize all Europe. 1 Hence 
the desire of the French monarch for peace, the prelimina- 
ries of which were signed in May of the present year, as 
already stated, although there was no cessation of hostilities 
until the conclusion of the treaty in October. 

The time for holding the grand council — so earnestly 
desired uy the royal governors, and so long looked for by 
the Indians — had now arrived. Preparations for this event 
had been made upon a large scale, and everything which 
would Tender it attractive to the Indians had been thought 
of and prepared. Accordingly, on the twentieth of July, 
Governor Clinton, accompanied by Doctor Colden and 
other members of his council, arrived in Albany. Here 
they found waiting them, Governor Shirley and the com- 
missioners of Massachusetts Bay, who had arrived a day 
or two previously. JNor had the Indians been less prompt 
in their attendance. The representations from the Six 
Nations, the River Indians, and some of the far ofi" tribes, 
was unprecedented in the history of any former council. 
So large, indeed, was the number of Indians assembled 
upon this occasion, that the oldest of the inhabitants 
declared that Albany had never before witnessed such a 
large concourse within her precincts. The exertions of 
Colonel Johnson, which had been unremitting to secure a 
full delegation from each of the different tribes, undoubt- 
edly contributed much to this result. Indeed, such had 

i Smollett. 




PMUjMP alias METACG3IET of Poianoket. 

IltiifiiiiYif /rem ///e original as TittHsked. iu Chiaxh. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



349 



been his influence, that numbers of those Indians, who chap. 
had hitherto leaned toward the French interest, camev 
flocking in from the surrounding country, anxious to show 1748 - 
their allegiance to the British crown. 

The old Dutch city had in fact seldom witnessed such a 
sight. Here were gathered Indians from the far West, 
many of whom at a later period were destined to redden 
their tomahawks in the blood of so many brave garrisons, 
under the great Pontiac. Here were many of the River 
Indians, — remnants of once powerful tribes, — whose grand- 
sires had followed the brave Uncas and Miantonomo to 
battle, and had taken their last stand with the noble 
but ill-fated King Philip. In one spot, a painted and 
tattooed warrior might have been seen smoking his pipe, 
as he recounted to his wondering companions the sights seen 
in his morning's stroll ; while everywhere groups of pic- 
turesquely attired Indians, with nodding plumes and 
variegated blankets, wandered through the streets, gazing 
with curious eye upon the novelties of civilization. 

The proceedings of the council, however, contrary to 
expectation, were not important. The governor's speech 
was but another rehearsal, in substance, and in metaphor, 
of former ones. The old " covenant chain" was again 
"brightened," and the Indians w^ere again admonished 
against the wiles of the French. They were requested to 
keep "the axe in their hands," and to restrain their young 
men still longer from their hunting. They were cautioned 
against allowing theirpeople, under any pretext whatesover, 
to be seduced by the invitations of the French into Canada, 
and they were peremptorily directed to arrest the celebrat- 
ed Jean Cceur, so long the arch enemy of the English 
residing among the Senecas at the Niagara carrying-place, 
and deliver him to the colonial authorities, and likewise 
to banish every French emissary from their territory. 
They were furthermore requested to desist from a war-ex- 
pedition which they were about to undertake against the 
Flathead Indians, residing far in the northwest, who were 



350 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, claimed by the governor as his majesty's allies. The fol- 
v-v— ' lowing is the concluding paragraph of the speech, which 
1748. j 8 quoted in hcec verba, for the reason that it refers to a mas- 
sacre of which the particulars are not known. 

" Brethren : You have since you came to this place, 
given a new and strong proof of your love to your brethren 
and fidelity to the king your father, by so cheerfully and 
speedily sending out a number of your warriors with our 
troops in quest of the enemy, who a few days since sur- 
prised and killed many of our brethren at Schenectady, 
and although those who earnestly pursued the enemy, had 
not the good fortune to meet with them, you may assure 
yourselves that this instance of your affection and readi- 
ness to join in our cause, shall always be remembered by 
me, and made known to the king your father." 

ISo printed or official record of the affair here referred 
to is believed to exist. Among the Johnson manuscripts, 
however, I have discovered a very confused and unsatis- 
factory account of it, contained in a letter to ColonelJohnson 
from Albert Van Slyck, dated Schenectady, July twenty- 
first, 1748. From the details preserved in this letter, it ap- 
pears that a party of men from Schenectady, the leader of 
whom was Daniel Toll, had been dispatched to some place 
in the vicinity to bring in a number of horses, which was 
surprised by a party of the enemy, whose presence in the 
neighborhood was neither known nor suspected. The 
firing being heard by Adrian Van Slyck, a brother of the 
writer of the account, who seems to have resided at a dis- 
tance from the town ; he sent a negro man to the latter 
place to give the alarm, and obtain reinforcements. Four 
parties of armed men successivly repaired to the scene of 
action, the first of which was composed of " the New 
England lieutenant with some of his men, and five 
or six young lads," accompanied by Daniel Van Slyck, — 
another brother. The second party was led by Angus Van 
Slyck, " and some men" — how many of either party 
is not stated. Adrian Van Slyck followed next, at the 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 351 

head of a party of New York levies ; but on reaching the chap. 
scene of action, where Angus, with inferior numbers, was v-^—^ 
holding the enemy at bay, the levies all fled, in the most 1748 - 
cowardly maimer. The fourth party, was composed of 
Albert Van Slyck, (the writer of the letter,) Jacob Glen, 
" and several others," on the approach of whom the enemy 
drew off, leaving Adrian Van Slyck among the dead. 
The letter adds — " It grieves me, I not being commander, 
that when we went, Garret Van Antwerp would suffer no 
more to accompany the party." 

Having taken three days for consideration, the Indians 
replied on the twenty-sixth, Onnasdego, an Onondaga 
sachem, and orator of renown being the speaker. But 
the occasion was not such as to kindle the fire of his genius, 
or to elicit a single glowing period. His oration was 
therefore a commonplace answer, in their exact order, to 
the various topics of the speech addressed to them by the 
governor. In the outset all their ancient covenants with 
the English were renewed ; and while they " freely 
acknowledged that the French were continually using 
artifices to induce them to break the covenant chain," 
they nevertheless were resolved to hold it fast. They 
promised that none of their people should be allowed to 
visit the French; declared that no French interpreter 
should be longer allowed to reside among them ; and 
announced that Jean Cceur had already been delivered up 
by the Senecas — but of this fact there seems to be no 
good evidence. Their war-kettle, they said, was yet over 
the fire, and the hatchet in their hands. They would 
grasp it still, and be ready to use it when summoned to 
the path. They promised to desist from the prosecution 
of hostilities against the Flatheads ; thanked the governor 
for his efforts to procure an exchange of prisoners ; express- 
ed their grief for the people who had been slain at Sche- 
nectady, and their regret that their wariors had not been 
able to overtake the enemy, "who had gone a different 
road from what they used to go." But they would " wipe 



352 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, up the blood of the slain," and " dry up the tears of their 

v— ¥ — ^friends." 

1748. "ji^g counc ii fire was then raked up, and the conferences 

were closed by a dance of the young warriors in the even- 
ing, the governor giving them five barrels of beer where- 
with to drink his majesty's health. 

On the following day the River Indians presented 
themselves, and were thus welcomed by the governor : — 

"Brethren : I am glad to see you here and do give you 
thanks for the fidelity you have always shown to this 
government, and I do assure you, you shall never want my 
protection as long as you behave yourselves with duty and 
obedience to his majesty. And as a token of the king 
your father's affection, he has directed me to make you a 
present which I have ordered to be given you." 

To which the chief addressing himself to the governors 
both of New York and Massachusetts, replied : — 

" Fathers : We wipe off your tears you had for the loss 
of your people who have been murdered since the com- 
mencement of this war. 

" Fathers : We are very much rejoiced for the regard our 
father the king of Great Britain has for us by ordering a 
present which you assure shall be given us. 

" Fathers: Our forefathers told us that before any white 
people came among them, they saw a vessel in the river. 
For some time they were afraid to go to it. But at last 
they ventured on board and found them to be white 
men who treated them civilly and exchanged mutually 
presents to each other, with promise that they would 
return the next year, which accordingly happened. When 
they came again the white people and they entered into a 
covenant together that they should live on their lands, 
which they did. And they also promised to take us under 
their arms and protect us which they have done to this day. 

" Fathers : When you came first to this country you were 
but a small people and we very numerous. We then 
assisted and protected you, and now we are few in num- 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 353 

ber, you become multitudes like a large tree, whose roots chap. 
and branches are very extensive, under whose branches Wy— > 
we take our shelter as we have heretofore done. 1748 - 

" Fathers : It is now almost three years since the war 
first began. You have had a very numerous army 
together. We were re-ady to join you in hopes that 
Canada would have been in possession of the English 
b efore now. We have been always ready and have still 
our hands on the cocks of our guns to go against our' 
common enemy whenever we shall be commanded. 

" Fathers : We thank you for your kind expressions 
toward us, and are very sorry we were not here the other 
day, when the enemy murdered a number of our brethren 
at Schenectady, which if we had we would have readily 
and cheerfully joined in the pursuit of them, even to the 
gates of Crown Point." 

While this council was sitting, the rumor that the pre- 
liminaries for a general pacification had actually been 
agreed upon by the great powers of Europe, became gen- 
eral, and was soon the topic of conversation among 
Indians, as well as among whites. To the Indians of 
the Six Nations, who had hoped by a continuance of the 
war to have avenged their slaughtered relatives, the 
rumor of a peace was a severe blow. All the clans of 
the Confederacy had lost some of their braves, but the 
Mohawks upon whom the loss naturally fell with greater 
force, now that they had at last gone upon the war-path, 
were loth to relinquish it. They recalled, too, with bitter- 
ness the justice of the remark made by them to Colonel 
Johnson, when urged by him to take up the hatchet. 
"You and the French can make peace whenever you 
choose, but with us when the hatchet is once dug up, it 
cannot be so easily buried, but the war must be one of 
extermination." 

Still the result of this council, so far as the colonies 
were concerned, was all that the most sanguine could 
desire. The Six Nations promised, either to drive all the 

45 



354 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. French emissaries who had privately resided among them, 
»— y— > out of their country, or to deliver them up to Governor 
1748. Clinton. They agreed farther to send no deputations 
to the Canadian governor, and to keep their warriors 
in constant readiness to obey the commands of Mr. 
Clinton. Indeed so strong had been the desire of the 
Confederates to send a deputation into Canada — Galisso- 
niere having represented that this was the condition 
alone upon which their braves detained by him would be 
given up — that Governor Shirley thought it best to bring 
with him fourteen French prisoners to be immediately sent 
into Canada as an exchange for an equal number of In- 
dians detained there in captivity. 

The tragedy at Schenectady, was not the only one enact- 
ed upon the northern border of the colony during the sum- 
mer of 1748. Another, of a most heart rending description, 
was perpetrated at about the same time, in the town of 
Hoosic, twenty-five miles north of Albany, by a party of 
Indians from St. Francis, which, from its peculiar barbari- 
ty, and the character of the victims, deserves a more 
extended record than is usually awarded to these incidents 
of the border. Indeed among all the scenes of blood, 
written or traditionary, in the early history of this country, 
none surpass in cruelty the one now about to be related. 

Maria Keith, whose name is identified with this savage 
transaction, was born in 1721, of highly respectable 
parents, on the banks of the Hudson, about eighteen miles 
above Albany. Of her infancy and early life, it is suffi- 
cient to say, that she gave decided promise of no ordi- 
nary qualities of mind, evincing an unusual attachment 
for books, and devoting to reading the greater part of that, 
which her contemporaries in childhood spent in play. 
By seizing thus upon every opportunity of improving her 
mind, she acquired much information, and laid up a consi- 
derable amount of knowledge, though the expression of 
her biographer, from whom the leading facts of the nar- 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 355 

rative are drawn, that "she had informed her opening chap* 
mind with the principles of every useful science," is proba- >— ^ 
bly somewhat exaggerated. 1 But be this as it may, it is 1748, 
evident that her mind was well cultivated. To this excel- 
lence may he added another, which though of less import- 
ance, yet deserves notice, that her manners were elegant, 
an d her person uncommonly attractive. Her beauty became 
so celebrated that her fame reached Albany, and drew 
thence several admirers who visited Miss Keith, and 
solicited her hand. This she refused to all her Albanian 
suitors, reserving her affections for a relative of the same 
name. The latter, though not handsome, yet having an 
engaging address, and being mutually and morally such 
as suited her tastes, won her heart, in preference to other 
lovers, who might have been considered in a worldly point 
of view, more eligible. She was married at the youthful 
age of fifteen, her nuptials being celebrated under the 
most favorable auspices. 

Immediately after her marriage, Mr. Keith erected a 
beautiful mansion on the banks of the Touharna, a tribu- 
tary of the Hoosic river, whither they removed, and where 
they were surrounded by everything necessary to happiness 
and tranquil enjoyment. Among the neighbors they were 
both very popular, winning golden opinions by their kind- 
ness to the sick, their generosity to the poor and needy, and 
their hospitality to all of every grade in life who entered 
within their peaceful doors. In this way they passed twelve 
years of uninterrupted happiness, during which time Mrs. 
Keith gave birth to a daughter and a son, between whose 
ages there was a difference of nearly eleven years, — this lat- 
ter having been born in the spring of the year now under 
review. In every hour of alarm, therefore, Mrs. Keith felt 
increased anxiety on account of the helpless infant which 
she held in her arms. Indulging the feelings of a devoted 
and an attached mother, she listened with breathless solici- 
tude, to all the rumors which were spread concerning the 

1 Works of Ann Maria Bleecke'r. 



356 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, marauding bands of Indians, sent out from Canada by the 
v— v — i French, for the purpose of ruthless devastation upon the 
1748. property, and merciless cruelty upon the persons of the bor- 
derers. Rumor with her thousand tongues, many of which 
spake but too truly in this case, soon repeated the nearer and 
nearer approach of another band of the dreaded ministers 
of French and savage vengeance. When it was ascer- 
tained that the Indians had arrived within the vicinity of 
Fort Edward, and were seen prowling about that place, 
Mr. Keith dispatched a messenger to bring his brothers 
who resided there, to his house on the Touharna, — deeming 
his residence a safer sanctuary, on account of its being 
more interior. One of his brothers had been married 
several months before, and his wife at the time of their 
flight from Fort Edward, was in a peculiarly delicate situa- 
tion. 

Not long after Mr. Keith had thus collected his relations 
around him, and under his roof, his family were visited by 
some Indians of the St. Francis tribe, who had pitched 
their wigwams a small distance from the village of Schagh- 
ticoke. These were hospitably entertained, and were per- 
mitted to pass several hours in eating and drinking ; during 
which time much conversation passed between Mrs. Keith 
and her savage visitors. To soothe her apprehensions, an 
old Indian who was spokesman, assured her that the family 
might dismiss their fear, and solemnly promised that in 
case of any danger she should be seasonably informed, and 
the means afforded her for escape. To enforce his " glozing 
lies," he presented her with a belt of wampum, saying, 
•" There, receive my token of friendship. "We go to dig up 
the hatchet, to sink it in the heads of your enemies. We 
shall guard this word with a rail of fire. You shall be 
safe." Still farther to quiet her fears, he added in apparent 
anger that she should suspect his fidelity, " No Maria, I 
am a true man. I shoot the arrow up to the Great Captain 
every new moon ; depend upon it, I will trample down the 
briars round your dwelling that you do not hurt your feet." 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 357 

TheRe bland words seem to have satisfied Mrs. Keith, chap. 

' IX. 

though her husband, with greater sagacity, suspected and w^_> 
feared that beneath was concealed a plan for their destruc- 1748# 
tion. 

The next morning after the ominous visit of the savages, 
perhaps for the purpose of dispelling the anxiety of his 
mind, Mr. Keith proposed a hunting excursion to his brother 
Peter, which was accepted, and they sallied forth with their 
guns in quest of game. Musing upon the perils that sur- 
rounded their families, they had gone several miles from 
home, before they became aware of the distance they had 
traveled. At that moment their eye caught sight of a fine 
doe, at which Peter leveled his piece, and brought her to 
the ground. But scarcely had the echo of the explosion 
died away among the the hills, when they heard a rustling, 
followed by the crack of a rifle, and Peter fell forward 
pierced by two balls in his heart. This was rapidly fol- 
lowed by the rushing of two savages upon them, one of 
whom prepared to scalp his victim, while the other aimed 
his gun at Mr. Keith. Quick as thought Mr. Keith shot 
his antagonist dead on the spot, and assailing the other 
Indian with the butt of his rifle, prostrated him on the 
ground. Leaving his foes for dead, he placed the bleeding 
corpse of his brother upon his horse, and hastened home 
with the dire intelligence. 

It is not necessary to describe the scene of woe that fol- 
lowed his arrival, bearing with him the dead body of 
a brother, who a few hours before, had been in the 
enjoyment of life and health. Suffice it to say, that after 
having washed the body from its gore, and prepared it for 
the grave, they laid it in an upper room, designing to have 
the obsequies performed the following day. Under cir- 
cumstances calculated to excite no great alarm, Mr. Keith 
resolved to set out that night for Schaghticoke, to procure 
a couple of wagons, and convey his family to Albany. 
Though dissuaded by his wife from going, yet he persisted 
in his design, and accordingly went, leaving an affectionate 



358 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, EART. 

chap, circle behind him, which he fondly hoped to see again in 
•— v — ! the course of a few hours, and greet them with tidings of 
1748. j^ guccesSj an( j the certainty of being soon placed beyond 
the reach of danger. But he had not been gone long, 
when at the hour of midnight, the inmates of Mr. Keith's 
mansion were startled by voices and yells of savages sur- 
rounding the house, and clamoring for admission. Blow 
after blow was made upon the doors. Every moment 
increased the violence of the assailants, who were bent 
upon deeds of blood. Mrs. Keith pressed her children 
more closely to her heaving bosom, and all stood petrified 
with terror. At length the brother of Mr. Keith, who, as 
I have already mentioned, had been lately married, 
advanced as if in frantic despair, and unbarred the door. 
Instantly it flew open, and he fell pierced with balls, and 
weltering in his blood. In rushed the savages, and imme- 
diately began the work of death. They seized the prostrate 
husband of Cornelia, and tore off his scalp before her eyes. 
While this deed was perpetrating, an Indian, hideously 
painted, strode up to Cornelia, and buried his tomahawk 
in her forehead. Her eyes just opened as the blow 
descended, and then closed forever. Perceiving her near 
approach to being a mother, they ripped her body open, and 
tearing the unborn child from her womb, dashed it against 
the wall. 

While this horrid carnage was going on, another Indian, 
— the same one who had with Punic faith presented the 
belt of wampum as a token of peace, — approached Mrs. 
Keith, who sat circling her children in her arms, and utter- 
ing the most piteous entreaties for mercy. She drew forth 
and showed to her treacherous foe, the belt, and appealed 
to his promise made when he gave it to her. But she 
might as well have remonstrated with the ferocious tiger, 
when hungry for prey. He only replied that she should be 
spared, and " dance with him around the council fire in 
Canada" — and then with a sardonic smile, expressing the 
fear that her infant son would only incumber her on the 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 359 

journey, he seized the child by the wrists, and tore it from chap. 
her embrace. Enraged apparently at her resistance, he . — , — - 
dashed its forehead against the wall, and hurled its reeking 1748 - 
body some distance from the house. Frenzied by the 
sight she rushed to the mangled remains of her loved 
infant, redoubling her cries of anguish, casting herself 
upon its body, wiping the blood from its ghastly counte- 
nance, and pressing it to her bosom. 

The savages having plundered the house of everything 
that was portable, forced those who had escaped their ven- 
geance, to quit the house, consisting of Mrs. Keith, her 
daughter Anna, a lovely girl in her twelfth year, and a 
brother of Mr. Keith. They then completed the work of 
destruction by firing the building, which was soon enveloped 
in flames. But Mrs. Keith's cup of sorrow was not yet 
full. Anna, acting as if she thought that death in any shape 
was to be preferred to being in the hands of ruthless bar- 
barians, to whom pity was a stranger, fled precipitately 
back to the house, though the flames were bursting forth 
in every direction, and entering in, secreted herself in a 
closet, where she remained until her escape became impos- 
sible, and perished in the devouring fire. The excruciating 
feelings of Mrs. Keith, on being compelled to behold this 
funeral pile of her only daughter, can readily be imagined. 
"Words fail to express the horror which must have filled 
her bosom, when seeing at her feet the mangled remains 
of one child, and witnessing the raging flames that were 
consuming the other, by a most agonizing death. She 
continued calling the name of her daughter with loud 
cries, till the Indians, impatient at her delay, compelled 
her and her brother, the only survivors in this fearful trage- 
dy, to set out with them in their journey to Canada. 

The remainder of the story is soon told. On her 
wearisome journey with the savages, nothing remarkable 
occurred that deserves a particular mention. As might be 
supposed, she suffered various privations, and was exposed 
to great fatigue. Unaccustomed to their mode of living, 



360 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, she would have been starved, had not her brother prepared 
< — „ — ■ her food, and ministered to her necessities. After enduring 
1748. numerous perils and hardships, she at last reached Canada. 
"When in the Indian village, to which her captors hastened, 
she narrowly escaped having her brains dashed out by an 
old hag, who seemed determined to glut her vengeance 
upon the prisoners. But on reaching Montreal, bating 
some painful circumstances which, to the disgrace of civ- 
ilization were allowed, she was kindly provided for by 
some charitable ladies, one of whom received her into her 
house, and treated her with the kindness of a sister. 

Thus she remained in the house of this charitable 
Samaritan, till she was at last found by her husband. The 
morning after the deed of cruelty which has been described, 
was perpetrated, he returned with two wagons to carry his 
family to Albany. But what was his horror, on beholding 
his house burned to the ground, and the scene of ruin 
which on every side met his eye ! By exploring the ruins, 
however, he found the bones of those who had been mur- 
dered, and also, which touched his heart to the quick, the 
half consumed remains of his infant, bearing yet the marks 
of savage violence. Collecting these charred bones, and 
depositing them in a box, he returned with them to Schagh- 
ticoke, where they were decently buried. Resigning him- 
self to despair, and supposing that Indian vengeance had 
spared not a single object of his affections, he joined the 
colonial army, resolving to seek death by placing himself 
in the front of the battle, and courting places of the great- 
est exposure. But the bullets passed harmlessly by him, 
nor could he find the death he sought. At length the 
thought occurred to him that he might yet find his brother, 
who possibly had not fallen a victim. Cherishing the idea, 
he set off for Canada, availing himself of the opportunity 
of accompanying some prisoners, who were returning to 
Quebec. In Canada he pursued the object of his journey 
with indefatigable ardor, inquiring of eveiy officer the 
names of prisoners who had been captured during the war. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 361 

On arriving at Montreal, he was immediately introduced chap. 
to the general officer, who patiently heard his story, and u-^L/ 
treated him with great clemency. Having obtained per- 1748 - 
mission to remain in town a few days, he respectfully with- 
drew, and turning down a street inquired of a man where 
lodgings were to be let. The stranger turned about and 
civilly took off his hat, when whom should Mr. Keith 
recognize in the stranger, but his brother Henry ? By him 
Mr. Keith received the delightful intelligence of his wife's 
preservation, and of her being then in Montreal. He 
speedily flew to her embrace. The rapture of the reunion 
was greater than she could endure. She fainted in his 
arms, but soon recovered, and felt that the joy of meeting 
compensated her for the wearisome months of sadness, 
grief and distraction which she had endured. 

Nor were the borders of Massachusetts and New Hamp- 
shire unmolested during the spring and summer of this 
year. Unable to obtain assistance from their own govern- 
ment, the inhabitants of the exposed settlements of New 
Hampshire upon the Connecticut river, applied to Massa- 
chusetts, by the legislature of which a garrison of one 
hundred men was placed in the fort at Charlestown, called 
Number Four, under the command of the gallant Cap- 
tain Stevens, who had signalized himself by his bravery 
in that position before. His second in command was Cap- 
tain Humphrey Hobbs. Fort Massachusetts having been 
rebuilt, was also garrisoned by one hundred men, and 
entrusted again to its former commander, Captain Ephraim 
"Williams — ColonelJohn Stoddard of Northampton, having 
the general command of the northern and w r estern frontiers 
of that colony. Dying, however, \n the month of June, 
that eminent man was succeeded by Colonel Israel Wil- 
liams, of Hartford. 

But it was not garrison duty alone which the officers and 
soldiers of Number Four were required to perform. They 
had a wide extent of territory to guard against the irrup- 
tions of the enemy, extending from the upper Merrimac 

4G 



362 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, country to Lake Champlain, and a suitable number of men, 
' — „ — from both forts, were required to be constantly employed 
1748. j n ran gi n g the forests to intercept the enemy in their sallies 
from Crown Point, and the great Indian rendezvous of 
St. Francis. The enemy first appeared at Charlestown 
about the middle of March, when a party of thirty Indians 
attacked eight of Stevens's men, at a short distance from 
the fort. Captain Stevens sallied forth for their rescue, 
and brought them in after a sharp skirmish, with the loss 
of two men, one of whom was killed, and the other taken 
prisoner. A third was wounded. A yet larger party, con- 
sisting of eighteen men under Captain Melvin, from the 
same garrison, had a narrower escape in the month of May. 
Melvin having crossed the woods to the shore of Lake Cham- 
plain opposite Crown Point, imprudently disclosed himself 
to the enemy in that fortress by firing upon two canoes of 
Indians. A party was immediately sent out from the fort 
to intercept him on his return, which by a rapid march 
gained his front. Having crossed the enemy's trail, and 
thereby discovered his design, Melvin endeavored to cir- 
cumvent him by changing his course from Charlestown, 
and striking down in the direction of Fort Dummer. * But 
the enemy was soon upon his path, and in close pursuit, 
though without his knowledge. Arriving at West river, 
Melvin incautiously allowed his men to halt and amuse 
themselves by shooting the salmon which were passing up 
a shoal of that stream. The consequence had well nigh 
been fatal to the whole party, since the enemy, thus 
apprized of their halt, and by stealthy observation of their 
amusement, rushed upon them unawares, and killed six of 
the most valuable men, — the residue, after vainly attempt- 
ing to make a stand against superior numbers, making their 
escape to Fort Dummer. A month afterward a party of 
thirteen men on the route from Hinsdale to Fort Dummer, 

1 Fort Dummer, frequently spoken of in the early border wars, was first 
built in 1723. It was situated on the Connecticut river, forty miles below 
Charlestown, or Number Four. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 363 

fell into an Indian ambuscade, and were all but three either chap. 

IX. g 

killed or taken prisoners. * >— v— ' 

The history of this feebly conducted contest shows that 1748> 
in a large majority of these border affairs, the enemy was 
successful — a fact, perhaps, that should create no wonder, 
when it is considered that his movements were always by 
stealth, and his attacks by surprise, — he having the selec- 
tion of time and place, and the option of fighting or not, 
according to circumstances. But fortune was not always 
turning in their favor. It happened that on the twenty-sixth 
of .June, while Captain Hobbs, at the head of forty men 
from the garrison of Number Four, was ranging the 
woods west of the Connecticut river, when about twelve 
miles from Fort Dummer, he was attacked by a strong 
body of Indians, under a resolute half-breed chief named 
Sackett. Hobbs and his men were regaling themselves at 
their knapsacks at the moment of the attack, in an opening 
upon a rivulet hedged w r ith alders, and covered with large 
and towering trees. The precaution of posting sentinels, 
however, had not been omitted, so that the surprise was 
less complete than otherwise it would have been. At the 
instant of alarm, each man selected a tree for his cover, 
and the Indians rushing upon the heels of the sentinels, 
were in the onset so warmly received as to check their 
advance. The Indians, in like manner, selected trees for 
their protection ; and an irregular battle succeeded which 
lasted four hours. The two captains were both men of 
coolness and courage. They were personal acquaintances, 
and had been friends before the war, and frequently called 
out to each other in the course of the fight>-^-Sackett claim- 
ing — as he had — a large superiority of force, and demanding 
a surrender, on pain of the indiscriminate use of the tom- 
ahawk in case of refusal. Hobbs, with stentorian voice, 
refused and bade defiance. Less cautious than the English, 
the Indians several times exposed themselves by attempting 
to advance to a hand to hand contest, but were as often 

1 Hoyt. 



364 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, repulsed, with severe loss. Discouraged, at length, by the 
v— y— - unyielding courage of Hobbs and his men, and probably 
1748. f orm ing an erroneous estimate of their strength, the 
Indians at length drew off— dragging off, also, their dead, 
by reason of which their loss was not known. 1 Many 
Indians, however, were seen to fall, and the battle ground 
was deeply sanguine. But notwithstanding the duration 
of the fight, only three of the English were killed, and 
the same number wounded. 2 The strength of the Indians 
was estimated at one hundred and sixty. Still, the expe- 
dition of Sackett was not altogether bootless, since, a fort- 
night afterward he surprised a party of seventeen men 
between Hinsdale and Fort Dummer, killed two and 
wounded the same number, and made nine of the residue 
prisoners. Four escaped. In these enterprises it seems 
to have been the desire of the enemy to take captives rather 
than to kill. There was sound policy in this ; the large 
amounts received from the friends of the captives for their 
ransom, going far toward defraying the expenses of the 
war. 

Fort Massachusetts was not molested until past midsum- 
mer. But on the second of August, a party of four men 
being engaged at some distance from the fort, were tired 
upon by an enemy whose presence had not been suspected. 
Captain Williams immediately sallied forth for their res- 
cue with Lieutenant Hawley and thirty men. The attack- 
ing party, apparently small, were soon driven back ; but 
in the moment of fancied safety, an ambuscade of thirty 
Indians rose and poured in a fire upon "Williams's right, 
moving wuth the design of intercepting his return to the 



1 "In all battles the Indians endeavor to conceal their loss, and in effect- 
ing this, they sometimes expose themselves more than in combat with the 
enemy. When one falls, his nearest comrade crawls up, under cover of the 
trees and brush, and fixing a tump line to the dead body, cautiously drags 
it to the rear. Hobbs's men related that in this action they often saw the 
dead bodies of the Indians sliding along the ground, as if by enchantment." 
— Eoyt. 

2 Hoyt's Antiquities. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 365 

fort. The celerity of Williams's movements, however, c "^ p - 
frustrated this manoeuvre, and the fort was reached with >~ >r -' 
the loss of only one man killed and two wounded — one of 1>i7 ' 
whom was the lieutenant. It soon appeared that the 
escape of Williams was most fortunate. Indeed it must 
be confessed that he had exhibited singular absence of 
military precaution in hazarding a sortie with so small a 
party, while ignorant of the strength of his enemy ; three 
hundred of whom, including thirty Frenchmen, followed 
close upon his heels as he regained the fort, and commenced a 
general attack. The fire was sustained on both sides 
about two hours ; but having no artillery, the enemy was 
unable to make any impression upon the works, and drew 
off with a loss, the amount of which was not ascertained. 
The enemy was shortly afterward more successful in the 
neighborhood of Fort Dumrner, where a party of seven 
under Lieutenant John Sargeants, was defeated, the com- 
mander being among the killed, and the survivors made 
prisoners. 1 

Meanwhile serious trouble began to manifest itself 
among the troops stationed at Albany and along the front- 
iers, in consequence of the scarcity of supplies. Many of 
the men deserted, and some of the officers resigned their 
commissions, flatly refusing to serve longer. 2 The assem- 
bly was not to meet until October, and the commissioners 
refused to execute the orders which the governor, by the 
advice of his council, had given them for supplying the 
troops, — urging as an excuse that they had not been so 
authorized by the assembly. The governor was exceed- 
ingly chafed by this refusal of the commissioners to act. 
This appears in all of his correspondence at this time, but 
especially in his correspondence with Colonel Johnson, 
with whom he was now on terms of intimacy. In a letter 

1 Hoyt's Antiquities. 

2 Manuscript letter, Johnson to Clinton ; also manuscript letter to John- 
son from Captain Stoddard, then in command at Schenectady. 



366 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, under date of October fifth, the following passage occurs : 
v— ^ " By a letter I have from Captain Stoddard that no pro- 
1748. visions are gone up, I conclude it was designedly neglect- 
ed by the commissioners in order to distress the service 
and disband the troops sooner than I thought it necessary ; 
and with a great deal of assurance, declared that even if 
they were served with an order from the council they 
would not obey it ! What a low ebb is the governor and 
council of New York driven to, that their orders are 
refused for three weeks provisions for a few men. * * 
* * Formerly the governor and council had the disposal 
of every shilling, and did it all in council by warrant, 
without consulting the assembly or anybody." 1 

Those persons have read little, and have thought still 
less, who suppose that the revolt of the colonies was the 
result of a moment. The controversies between the 
assembly and the executive ; the seeming apathy of the 
house to provide for the safety of the frontiers, and its 
general indiiference in providing the needed supplies of 
which Mr. Clinton so bitterly complains, had in fact their use 
not so much in an unconcern for the welfare of the colonies 
as in a fixed determination to resist the encroachments of the 
crown. Still it must be frankly admitted, that the assem- 
bly were often in the wrong, and that much of this treat- 
ment of the governor was harsh and ill-judged. 

In the assembly, which met upon the twelfth of Octo- 
ber, the governor determined to reassert the prerogative 
in the strongest terms by bringing the subject of a perma- 
nent supply to direct issue ; choosing as an able writer has 
remarked, New York " as the opening scene in the final 
contest that led to independence." 2 Accordingly on the 
fourteenth Mr. Clinton sent down his message to the 
house, in which, after congratulating them upon the near 
prospect of a general peace, he demanded a permanent 
support for five years. The message stated that on coming 

1 Manuscript letter. 

2 Bancroft. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 367 

to the administration of the government, he had been chap. 

° ' IX. 

disposed to do all he could, consistently with his duty to ' — „ — ; 
the king, for the care and satisfaction of the people. 
Hence, reposing confidence in the advice then given him, 
ho had given his assent to various acts of the assembly, 
the tendency of which, as experience had taught him, was 
to weaken the authority of his majesty's government. Still, 
as the country was very soon afterward involved in war, 
he had forborne to take that attitude in the premises which 
duty to his sovereign seemed to require. But with the return 
of peace, he deemed it to be his indispensable duty to put 
a stop to such innovations. Prominent among these was 
the practice which had been growing up, of making only 
an annual provision for the payment of the officers of the 
government. He also alluded to the modern practice of 
naming the officers, for whose benefit the appropriations 
were made, in the act — thus interfering with the preroga- 
tive in the appointing honor. He admonished the assem- 
bly that he should give his assent to no acts of that 
character for the future ; and demanded an appropriation 
for the payment of the governor's, secretaries, judges and 
other salaried officers, for the term of five years, accord- 
ing to the practice that had prevailed during the adminis- 
tration of his four immediate predecessors, namely, 
Governors Hunter, Burnett, Montgomery, and Cosby. 
The inconveniences of these annual grants of salaries and 
allowances, was adverted to, and objections farther urged 
against the recent method of intermixing matters of an 
entirely different nature with the provisions of the salary 
bills, and tacking new grants for other purposes to the 
governor's own support. The governor desired them 
farther to make immediate provision for the payment of 
the troops at Albany, and on the frontier ; recommended 
that the troops should be continued at Albany ; and con- 
cluded by calling the attention of the assembly to a debt 
of two thousand one hundred and thirty-eight pounds, due 
to Colonel Johnson for disbursements made by that gentle- 



368 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, man in the public service, and which had been allowed 
^ — - and ordered to be paid by an act of the preceeding session. 
1748. Owing to a deficiency in the funds, upon which it was 
directed to be charged, the money had not been paid; 
and the inconvenience of being kept so long out of so 
large a sum of money, was so great, that it was only with 
much difficulty that he had been enabled to persuade 
the colonel to undertake again the supplying of the import- 
ant garrison at Oswego. 

The assembly, in its reply, justly regarding the request 
for a permanent supply as a direct attempt to render the 
crown independent of the people, with great indignation, 
refused to grant it. As to the more recent practice of 
naming the officers provided for in the salary bills, it not 
only justified it, but intimated that if this course had 
been adopted at an earlier day, his excellency would not 
have been able to remove the third justice of the supreme 
court "without any color of misconduct" on his part — 
who was " a gentleman of learning and experience in the 
law." 1 Respecting the other matters in the message, it 
replied, that it saw no reason for burdening the colony 
with the troops in Albany, declaring that the troops at 
Oswego were quite sufficient in time of peace for the 
protection of the province. It passed however, a bill 
granting three thousand six hundred pounds for the 
pay of the troops on the frontier, but ignored entirely the 
claim of Colonel Johnson. The result can readily be seen. 
After continual bickerings for several weeks, Mr. Clinton, 
in great wrath, prorogued the assembly. 

Thus the parties separated, and thus again commenced 
that great struggle between the republican and the mon- 
archal principle, wh ich in the onward progress of the 
former was destined at a day not even then far distant, to 
work such mighty results in the western hemisphere. 

1 Alluding to the removal, the year before, of Justice Horsmanden. This 
act was again imputed to the influence of " a person of a mean and despi- 
cable character" — meaning, as it was well understood, Doctor Colden. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

Although hostilities were suspended between the chap- 
belligerents, whose armies were contending in the Nether- >— y— ' 
lands, immediately after the preliminaries were signed at 1748 * 
Aix La Chapelle, yet it was long before the forces at sea 
were apprized of the fact. Meantime Admiral Boscawen, 
in the East Indies, having invested Pondicherry by land 
and water, was compelled to retire with signal discomfit- 
ure. Rear Admiral Knowles, too, — the same who had 
rendered himself so deservedly unpopular at Boston the 
year before, — continued to prosecute the contest in the 
West Indies with various success. With a squadron of 
eight ships he attacked fort St. Louis, on the south side 
of St. Domingo, which after a warm action of three hours 
was surrendered on capitulation and dismantled. But he 
afterward made an abortive attempt upon St. Iago de Cuba, 
at the result of which he was greatly chagrined. 1 Early 
in October Admiral Knowles, while cruising in the neigh- 
borhood of Havana, with eight ships of the line, fell in 
with a Spanish squadron of nearly equal force, command- 
ed by Admiral Reggio, and a severe engagement ensued, 
which lasted six hours, commencing at two o'clock in the 
afternoon, and ending at eight. Knowles himself began 
the action in gallant style, but being seriously disabled, 
his ship was compelled to drop astern of the squadron, 
and was not afterward engaged in the line; but being 
borne down upon by the enemy, and another ship coming 
to his assistance, a struggle sharp and bloody ensued. The 
Spanish commander, notwithstanding the inferiority of 
his force, was at one time confident of victory; 2 but the 
fortunes of the day were against him, and he was com- 
pelled to put into the Havana with the loss of two ships ; 
and a third was destroyed the next day to prevent her from 
falling into the hands of the English. Admiral Knowles 
taxed some of his men with misbehavior in this affair, 
and he was accused in turn. Several of the officers were 



i Smollett. 

2 Spanisk official account in the Gentleman's Magazine for April 1749. 

47 



I 

370 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, tried by a court martial, and reprimanded, and Knowles 
v_^^ himself was tried in December, 1749. The court acquitted 
1748. ] 1 j m f ^e charge f cowardice ; awarding him on the 
contrary, the merit of great personal bravery. But he 
was nevertheless found guilty of negligence in his arrange- 
ments, in several particulars, and ordered to be repri- 
manded. 1 High feelings of animosity arose among the 
officers, who either took sides with or against the admiral, 
and several duels were the consequence, in one of which 
a Captain Jarvis was mortally wounded by his antagonist 
Captain Clark. 2 But according to both English and Span- 
ish accounts the action was bravely fought on both sides. 
As it proved it was a needless waste of life. 

The definite treaty of peace was concluded and signed 
on the seventh day of October at Aix La Chapelle ; and 
considering the circumstances under which it was con- 
cluded, and the relative strength of the parties and the 
condition of the alliance at the head of which was Eng- 
land, for a farther prosecution of the contest, it was a most 
inglorious peace. 3 Thus ended the " old French war," 
produced by the wickedness of Frederick, " the evils of 
which were felt in lands where the name of Prussia was 
unknown ; and, in order that he might rob a neighbor 
whom he had promised to defend, black men fought on 
the coast of Coromandel, and red men scalped by the 
great lakes of North America. 



'4 



1 Proceedings of the court martial, vide Gentleman's Magazine, 

» Smollett. 

3 This contest was called "the old French war." It was in fact begun 
by Frederick the Great, by an unjust and rapacious attack upon the Em- 
press-Queen Maria Theresa, for the purpose of wresting Siberia from her. 
It involved the world in arms. The respective alliances on the one side, 
were the king of Great Britain, the empress-queen, the states-governors 
of the United Provinces, and the king of Sardinia, with several smaller 
princes as auxiliaries On the other side, was the alliance of France, Spain, 
(claiming the Austriain succession,) the infant Don Philip, brother of the 
king of Spain and son-in-law of the king of France, with the republic of 
Genoa and the duke of Madrid. 

4 Macauley's life of Frederick the Great. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. o71 

Meanwhile the Confederates were again becoming chap. 
solicitous for those of their warriors who were still languish- ^~ v — / 
ing in chains in Canada. 1 The promises made to them, at 1748 ' 
the council at Albany, by Clinton and Johnson, of the 
speedy release of their brethren, had quieted them for a 
time. But now, as month after month passed away and 
nothing was acomplished, they doubted the power of the 
English to bring this about, and thought seriously of 
taking the matter into their own hands. Johnson feared 
this himself, for in a letter written at this time to Governor 
Clinton upon the subject, he says : — "There is not one of 
our Indians suffered to come, nor any of the Christians 
who were taken with them, which is very hard, and will 
be the means, I reckon, of all the Five Nations going 
down now to Canada to get them." There was indeed 
cause for alarm ; and it required the most strenuous exer- 
tions of Colonel Johnson to keep the Mohawks quietly at 
their castles, until the terms of the exchange of prisoners 
could be settled. This was no easy matter ; and through- 
out the remainder of the year the attention of Mr. Clin- 
ton was chiefly occupied in successive negotiations with 
Galissoniere, for an exchange of prisoners. But notwith- 
standing the evident approach of peace, and an arrange- 
ment for a cessation of arms in Europe, the French 
governor opposed various obstacles in the way of an equita- 
ble and prompt exchange. Mr. Clinton had sent two flags 
of truce without success, particularly in reference to the 
captive warriors of the Six Nations, who, as before hinted, 
were becoming exceedingly restive under the delay, — so 
much so, indeed, as to lead them to send a special deputa- 
tion of their chiefs to New York at the close of Septem- 
ber, to plead with the governor upon the subject. 2 There 
were likewise many prisoners in Canada, males and 
females, inhabitants of the frontiers, who had been carried 
away, and who were of course, with their friends, anxious 

1 Manuscript letter ; J. Williams to Major Lydius. 

2 See journals of the council. 



372 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, for their return. 1 But the difficulty was not so much in 
^-v— / relation to the exchange of the English for the French 
1748. prisoners, as it was in reference to the exchange of the 
Mohawks for an equal number of the French held as 
prisoners in New York. La Galissoniere, claimed that 
the Mohawks were an independent nation, and as such, 
qualified to treat alone with him upon the subject; while 
Clinton justly maintained that by the treaty of Utrecht, 
the Mohawks were the dependants and subjects of the 
British crown. 

Instead therefore, of meeting the views of Mr. Clinton 
and proceeding at once to a general exchange, Galisso- 
niere released only a few, sending a return flag, with 
seven officers, eighteen privates, and four Canadian 
Indians, accompanied by some propositions to which the 
governor of New York refused to accede. On the arrival 
of this formidable company at Albany, Colonel Johnson's 
suspicions were aroused that all was not right ; and he 
would not allow them to proceed to New York, until per- 
mission to that effect had been received. 2 That permis- 
sion having been given, the French party, the leader of whom 
was M. Francis Marie, proceeded at once to New York. 
The embassy was, however, bootless as appears by the fol- 
lowing passage taken from a long manuscript letter upon 
this and other subjects, addressed by Mr. Clinton to Colonel 
Johnson on the fifth of October : — " As the commandant 
of this party is a very pretty gentleman, it grieves me much 
that I can't send any of his people back with him, as it 
might be of great service in recommending him to the 
governor. But his letter is so haughty, and indeed rather 
insolent, that I am obliged to stick on punctilios. His 
detaining our Christian prisoners from us in time of peace, 
is not right. Yet if he had sent one or two of the Indians 



1 Manuscript letter from Peter Van Schaick to Colonel Johnson, — written 
at this time, while a prisoner in Canada, — begging that the latter would use 
his earnest efforts to obtain his speedy release. 

2 Manuscript letter; Colonel Johnson to Governor Clinton. , 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 373 

back in room of the five of his I sent, something might chap. 
have been done. But the poor gentleman must go back w^ — • 
as he came, and thank his own governor's indiscretion for 1748 - 
putting things on a wrong footing." 

Thus matters stood until the end of the year. Nothing 
definite was arrived at in relation to the exchange ; and 
although there were no active hostilities, yet the year 
closed, leaving all parties mutually dissatisfied, and equally 
suspicious of the designs of each other. 



CHAPTER X. 

1749—1750. 

The exchange of prisoners still continued to be the sub- 

chap* J ec * °f a l en gthy coiTespondence between the royal 

,x ' governors. The Six Nations yet retained in their posses- 

1749. sion several of the French, uncertain — as in turn they 

were influenced by the French emissaries, or by Colonel 

Johnson — to which of the governors to yield them up. 

To the Confederates at least, the final disposition of their 

prisoners was a subject of grave consideration. Should 

they treat directly with La Galissoniere, they were fearful 

of incurring the displeasure of Governor Clinton ; while 

on the other hand, should they yield up their prisoners to 

Colonel Johnson, they feared that by so doing, they 

would lose the power to redeem their braves from their 

captivity. 

To Colonel Johnson this delicate matter of effecting a 
transfer of the prisoners into his hands, was entrusted ; and 
after considerable negotiation, rendered necessary by their 
vascillating course, the Mohawks were induced to yield 
up twelve of their prisoners. This transfer, however, was 
accompanied by a request, on the part of the Mohawks, 
that the colonel would not allow the Frenchmen to return 
home, until those of their warriors, who yet languished in 
the jail at Quebec, should be brought down to Crown 
Point, and delivered into his hands. The success of his 
negotiations, the colonel immediately communicated to 
Mr. Clinton in a letter, which the latter at once laid before 
his council for its action. Several months elapsed 
before farther orders touching the final disposition of the 
prisoners were received from the governor ; during which 
interval, the colonel received them into his own house, 
treating them with much kindness and consideration. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 375 

Meanwhile the Mohawks, always suspicious, and not chap. 
understanding the delays and forms of diplomatic inter- ^^-, 
course, began to he apprehensive lest the object they had 1749 - 
in delivering up their prisoners might not be attained. 
These apprehensions were likewise increased by messages 
which the wily La Galissoniere, with artful tact, continued 
to send to the Mohawks, inviting them to come to Quebec, 
and treat in person for their braves. This, as it was 
designed, only increased their ill temper, — conscious that 
they had lost the power to do this, when they allowed the 
Frenchmen to go out of their hands. Their discontent at 
first manifested itself in angry looks and dark hints, until 
finally, unequivocal symptoms showed that they designed 
taking the matter into their own hands, by wresting back 
by force that which they had so unwillingly granted. So 
deeply rooted had their disaffection become, and so widely 
had it spread, that the colonel himself feared that even 
his influence would not much longer avail for the protec- 
tion of the prisoners. In this strait, he at once wrote to 
Mr. Clinton, stating the situation of affairs and his own 
fears. The governor immediately replied as follows : 

"KewYork June 7, 1749. 
" Sir. 

"I have the favor ot yours of twenty-sixth of last 
month, and am well pleased with the accounts you give me 
of your conduct with the Indians. You may assure the 
Mohawks that the reason of my not sending back the 
French prisoners which you have in your hands, is in 
order to secure the return of their people who are prison- 
ers in Canada, and that their people shall not have their 
liberty on any conditions but that of the liberty of the 
Indians who are prisoners in Canada ; that all these mes- 
sages from the governor of Canada are only an artifice to 
draw them to Canada in order to make mean and shameful 
submissions to him there. And in order to prevent any of 
their people making such a shameful step, so disgraceful to 
their nation, you must endeavor to persuade them to deliver 



376 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



CHAP. 
X. 

1749. 



the remaining prisoners into your hands that they may he 
kept safe till the liberty of the Indians be secured. And 
for this purpose, if you have any apprehensions that the 
French now at your house cannot be safely kept there, 
you are to send them to Albany to the sheriff, there to be 
kept in jail till such time as he shall receive my orders 
for their liberty. If you think it may be attended with 
any inconvenience to keep the French in prison at Albany, 
then you may send them down to 'New York where I shall 
take care to have them secured. 

Inclosed is an order to the sheriff to receive the prisoners 
from you, and to keep them in safe custody. 

" But as the Indians are frequently very humorsome, 
and there must be some regard had to it, you are allowed 
to take some latitude in the execution of these orders, by 
delaying the full execution of them, till you inform me of 
any inconvenience which you may apprehend may attend 
the strict observance of them. I have received no orders 
from court relating to the liberty of prisoners, and I delay 
sending to Canada for their liberty in expectation of 
receiving such, and am, 

" Sir, Your very humble servant, 

"G. Clinton." 

On the reception of this letter Colonel Johnson sum- 
moned both of the Mohawk castles together, and used 
all his influence to divest them of their suspicions, and per- 
suade them to leave the exchange of the prisoners entirely 
with Mr. Clinton. In this he succeeded ; but only after 
great effort, and by the payment to the Indians of large 
sums of money out of his own purse. The Mohawks 
were also induced at the same time to deliver up to him 
the remainder of their captives, thus increasing the num- 
ber under his protection to nineteen. 

Scarcely had this affair been amicably arranged, when 
another difficulty arose, which for a little while threat- 
ened to mar the harmony between the Indians and the 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 377 

English. This time, however, the trouble had its origin chap. 

. . . x. 

in the indiscreet conduct of a few whites. It seems that • — , — - 

some traders from Albany and the adjacent settlements, 1749 - 
in going their yearly rounds among the different cantons 
of the Confederacy, had taken several Indian children as 
pawns or pledges for the payment of the goods sold to the 
parents. Notwithstanding the latter came at the appoint- 
ed time to redeem their children, the traders refused to 
deliver them up, — designing to keep them as security for 
future purchases. The chiefs of the several tribes, justly 
indignant at this breach of faith, came in a body to Mount 
Johnson, and laid their grievances before the colonel, who 
thereupon informed Mr. Clinton of these facts. The result 
was a proclamation from the governor directing that the 
children should at once be restored to their homes. Most 
of the traders forthwith obeyed, but a few w r ere obstinate 
and refused compliance. The French, ever ready to seize 
upon anything which might be turned to their advantage, 
used this circumstance to inflame the minds of the Indians, 
adducing this as a proof that the English wished only to 
reduce them to slavery. Finally, how r ever, through the 
exertions of the colonel all the children were restored and 
the wound healed, though not until several, council 
fires had been rekindled and many belts of wampum 
exchanged. 

It was not until the following year that a general 
exchange of prisoners was effected. During the interval 
Colonel Johnson was chiefly occupied in soothing the 
temper of the Six Nations, and in preventing them from 
committing themselves to the French. This was not an 
easy task. The Jesuit priests were busy among them 
endeavoring to undermine their. attachment to the English ; 
for notwithstanding the solemn assurances given by the 
Indians that these emissaries should be given up, a few 
continued to reside at the different castles. The colo- 
nel, however, was not discouraged. Well aware of the 
character of his opponents he was not satisfied with 

48 



878 LIFE OF SIB, WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, pursuing merely a negative policy, but set himself 
v— v — ^vigorously to work to thwart the machinations going 
1749 - on around him. He therefore labored more earnestly 
than ever to strengthen his influence over the Indians. 
At times I find him taking part in their ceremonies and 
condoling with them upon the death of some chief: at 
another, he is wearing their dress, dancing and smoking 
their pipes, and entering wdth seeming zest into their 
games : while again he is found addressing their chiefs 
in council, and instigating an incursion upon one of the 
French settlements. Yet with all this adaptation to their 
habits, there was withal a certain dignity of mien which 
ever commanded respect, and secured him from that 
familiarity wdiich with the red, as well as with the white 
race, always breeds contempt. 1 

The energy of Colonel Johnson — always remarkable — 
was perhaps never more displayed than at this period of 
his life. A few years later he relinquished business and 
devoted himself entirely to the service of the crown. At 
this time, however, beside the duties incident to the care 
of the Indian department, he was assiduous in the prose- 
cution of his private business relations. Numerous letters 
to his agents in London, filled with orders for goods, are 
still in existence, copies of which w T ere filed away with 
that accuracy which was so characteristic of him during 
his entire life. On the same day he is found ordering 
from London lead for the roof of his house ; dispatching 
a load of goods to Oswego ; bartering with the Indians 
for furs ; and writing to Governor Clinton at length on 
the encroachments of the French — doing everything with 
neatness and dispatch. Yet amid all the cares incident to 
his mercantile business, which had now grown very exten- 

x It was in this year that Kalm, the distinguished Swedish naturalist* 
visited Mount Johnson bearing a letter of introduction from Cadwallader 
Colden. Johnson received his visitor with warm and courtly hospitality, 
and on his departure gave him a letter to Captain Lindesay at Oswego and fur- 
nished him with a guide to Niagara. Kalm wrote to Johnson from Oswego 
thanking him warmly for his kindness. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 379 

sive, lie still retained his contract for supplying the gam- chap. 
son at Oswego ; while at the same time he superintended ^_ v _/ 
the militia, attended to the affairs of the Six Nations, and 1749. 
as "ranger of the woods" for Albany county — an office 
conferred on him by Mr. Clinton — kept a diligent watch 
upon those w T ho were disposed to cut down and carry off 
by stealth the king's timber. 

It will readily be seen, however, that with all this 
energy, it required great tact to maintain an ascend- 
ency over the Iroquois. Any one other than Johnson 
would have failed ; nor was it an ordinary mind that 
could so successfully baffle the whole power and influ- 
ence of La Galissoniere and his wily priests. Indeed 
had it not been for his influence, it is difficult to see how 
the Six Nations at this period could have withstood the 
seductive allurements of the French. By every appliance 
in their power the latter strove to shake their confidence in 
the English — by presents ; by the influence of priests ; 
by stories circulated among them of English treachery ; 
by stirring up petty jealousies, — in short nothing which 
cunning or strategy could devise was neglected. Yet all 
these arts, through the vigilance of the colonel, signally 
failed ; and the Iroquois still continued the firm allies of 
the English crown. 

The autumn of this year was marked by the encroach- 
ments of the French in Nova Scotia, which were soon 
to plunge the colonies into another bloody and disastrous 
war. La Jonquiere, the successor of Galissoniere, had 
watched the Englllli settlement at Halifax with consider- 
able solicitude ; and in November, he dispatched a party 
of the St. John and River Indians against Minus, with no 
other effect however, than the killing and capturing of 
eighteen men. At the same time, La Cornc, a bloody and 
desperate soldier of fortune, was ordered to the isthmus 
of the peninsula, which position he occupied during the 
winter, making his head-quarters at the village of Chieg- 
necto. 



380 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, EART. 

chap. Anxious to dislodge these intruders, Cornwallis, the 
s— v— ' governor of Nova Scotia, sent Major Lawrence in April 
1750. w ith a force of four hundred regulars and rangers upon 
this service. Scarcely had the fleet appeared in sight, 
when La Corne burned the town, and, retreating across 
the river with the inhabitants, planted upon its dykes the 
lilies of France. This position was too strong to be 
attacked with any prospect of success. Major Lawrence, 
after holding an interview with the French commander, in 
which the latter avowed his intention to defend himself 
to the last extremity, turned the prows of his vessels 
toward Halifax. A swift vessel conveyed the intelligence 
of this event to the parent government, and simultane- 
ously a messenger was dispatched !o the colonies of New 
Hampshire and Massachusetts to inform them " of the 
audacious proceedings of the French, and to invite them 
to join in punishing La Corne as a public incendiary." 1 

England, however, reaped, in the lukewarm reception 
of these tidings by the New England colonies, the first 
fruits of her pusillanimous surrender of Cape Breton. 
Those colonies already saw the folly of spending so much 
blood and treasure in aid of a government which had 
shown itself so incapable of profiting by their victories, 
and consequently they took no measures for the defense 
of Nova Scotia. In midsummer another expedition was 
planned at Halifax to retake Chiegnecto. The attack was 
successful, though several of the English were killed ; and 
thus was the first blood shed of that sanguinary contest, 
which was soon to involve the continents of the old and 
new world in such long and deadly strife. 2 

In May of this year, Colonel Johnson took his first step 
toward the prominent and influential position which he 
was destined to occupy in later years. This was no less 
than his appointment by the crown to a seat in his majesty's 
council for the province of New York in the room of 

1 Bancroft. 

2 Minot. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 381 

Philip Livingston deceased. 1 A new phase of life was chap. 
now to open upon him, in which a wider scope Ava.s* — v — • 
to he given to his peculiar and extraordinary talents, 1 ' 50 * 
Hitherto, although he had been appointed in 1748 to 
the command of the New York colonial troops with 
the commission of colonel, yet he still occupied the 
position of a private citizen, fast rising, nevertheless, 
in influence, by a steady attention to his business. 
Henceforward he is no longer a citizen, but a public man. 
From a trader in furs, daily bartering for pelts in a country 
store, he is soon to become the most prominent man in his 
majesty's colonies. 

To Johnson, this appointment, though unsought, was 
by no means a surprise. Mr. Catherwood, in April of this 
year, had written him from London, stating that Governor 
Clinton had recommended and urged his appointment to 
the council hi place of Colonel Moore; — "I urged your 
appointment ;" Mr. Catherwood writes, " to be in the room 
of Mr. Livingston, as you seemed desirous to take place 
next to Mr. Holland; but Sir Peter Warren secretly 
asked it as a favor to place you before Mr. Holland, which 
was not your own desire, nor do I think it just, where- 
fore I have been under a necessity of praying that Mr. 
Holland may take place according to his appointment at 
New York." Although Mr. Clinton's recommendation 
undoubtedly arose in part from a personal attachment and 
a desire to advance the interests of his young friend, yet 
selfish considerations entered into it in a large measure. 
The faction in the assembly, far from growing weaker by 
frequent dissolutions, had, under the lead of the chief 
justice, waxed more powerful, until the executive was fast 
verging into a subordinate position. The governor, secure 
in the friendship of Johnson, hoped by this measure to 
bind the latter still more firmly to his interests and thus 

1 Mr. Dunlop in his History of New York, makes the elate of Johnson's 
appointment to the council two years later. This is incorrect. Johnson, it 
is true, was not sworn in till the next year. 



382 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, strengthen his own hands at the council board. 1 Still Mr. 

w^ — i Clinton, though an unlettered man, possessed considerable 

1*50. sagacity, and had he not seen in the colonel the promise of 

ability which would be of service to the crown, he would 

not have recommended him for this important position 

merely to sustain his own interests. 2 

Meanwhile the wranglings between the governor and 
his assembly continued. The former, it will be remem- 
bered, rather than yield to the wishes of the faction, had in 
great wrath prorogued that body in 1748 ; and by succes- 
sive prorogations, he had prevented it from sitting for 
nearly two years, until the affairs of the colony, from lack 
of funds, were now in an alarming condition. The exe- 
cutive during this entire period, had been wholly destitute 
of money with which to carry on the government. The 
post at Oswego was in danger of being given up, from its 
garrison having threatened to disband through lack of pay ; 
and the public credit, by means of which funds had been 
obtained for the defense of the frontiers, was nearly if not 
cmite exhausted. In this critical juncture, the governor 
did not think it advisable to longer delay calling his legis- 
lature together. He therefore declared his old assembly 
dissolved on the twenty-first of July, and issued writs for 
a new one returnable on the fourth of September. In his 
opening speech to the house, Mr. Clinton recommended 
that immediate provision should be made for meeting the 
arrearages of the pay now long due to the garrison at 
Oswego, and for the expenses incurred in meeting and con- 

1 Thus in a letter fromCatherwoodto Johnson in May of this year inform- 
ing him of his appointment, the former writes ; — "I have the pleasure to 
tell you that you are appointed a councillor for the province of New York 
pursuant to his excellenc3''s recommendation, and as he is very ready upon 
all occasions to oblige his friends, I hope nothing will move you to drop your 
attachment inviolable to him; but that you will try now as a member of the 
legislature to serve him and yourself with the assembly." 

2 In the same way, Governor Fletcher had raised Schuyler to the coun- 
cil board, on account of his like judicious Indian service. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOIINSON, BART. 383 

gratulating the Indians upon the conclusion of peace, chap. 
He informed it of the rapid advances the French were- — y — - 
making in the affections of the Confederates, and the ' ' 
urgent necessity there was for making larger presents to 
the Indians if these advances were to be successfully met. 
He then urged it to provide for the payment of the salaries 
of government officers long since due ; and concluded by 
reminding it of the colony's debt to Colonel Johnson still 
unpaid. The assembly responded to this address by 
immediately voting the sum of 800 pounds for presents to 
the Indians ; and by passing two acts — one for the pay- 
ment of the debts of the colony, and the other for the 
payment of the government salaries. It also allowed the 
sum of £686 lis. to Mr. Johnson, for provisions supplied 
by him to the militia and regular troops posted at Oswego 
during the previous year from September 1748 to 1751. 
To these acts thje governor gave his consent, although 
they were all passed in the same irregular manner as former- 
ly, and in such a way as to encroach upon the prerogative. 
Still Mr. Clinton dared not refuse his assent, dreading 
lest his refusal should cause the loss of the post at Oswego, 
which on account of its trade with the Indians would have 
been equivalent to the loss of the friendship of the Six 
Nations. 1 The assembly shortly after the passage of these 
acts was prorogued to the second day of the following April. 
It will be noticed, however, that with the excep- 
tion of the £686 lis. allowed for provisioning the Oswego 
garrison the assembly during their session never once alluded 
to the debt now so long due Colonel Johnson. So cautious 
was the assembly, as we have already seen, of doing any- 
thing which could be construed into yielding to the wishes 
of the governor, that it was led into an act of great injust- 
ice, not to say ingratitude, in thus allowing this claim to 
pass unrecognized. Especially was this the case, since the 
greater part of the debt was not for services rendered, 

1 Governor Clinton to the board of trade, published in N. Y. Col. Doc, 
vol. vi. 



384 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



chap, but for private advances made in treating with the Indians, 
w v _/ and in the defense of the frontiers. It was in vain that 
libO. f or near ]y three years Governor Clinton in turn entreated 
and besought. It was to no purpose that he represented 
the injustice of allowing Johnson's services to be so poorly 
requited, to say nothing of the moneys advanced by him 
from his own funds for the protection of the colony. The 
assembly, instigated by the De Lancey faction, were stub- 
born and would not yield. There was also another influ- 
ence at work, which to a great extent was the cause of 
this injustice. It will be remembered that previous to 
the colonel assuming the supervision of the Six Nations, 
their affairs had for a long time been entrusted to a board 
of commissioners at Albany. The commissioners were 
mostly Dutch ; and in the love of gain so characteristic of 
that nation, they had used their office chiefly to monopo- 
lize the Indian trade, and thus make it a source of great 
private profit. Having finally through their grasping dis- 
position, lost all influence over the Indians, the governor 
committed the whole management of Indian affairs to Mr. 
Johnson. The commissioners inflamed with resentment 
at the loss of authority which they had so long held, and 
the consequent loss of their trade — no inconsiderable 
source of emolument. — joined the faction against Clinton. 
Instigated by petty jealousy of the man by whom they 
had been supplanted, they used every artifice to prevent 
his claims from being recognized. 1 Various were the 
expedients resorted to by the assembly for deferring action 
upon this matter, many of them frivolous, all of them 
contemptible. Sometimes it was by directing that pay- 
ments should be made out of funds which it well knew 
were exhausted ; and again it was by cutting down his 
accounts, without assigning any reason for so doing. 2 It 
even charged him with peculation, and accused him of 
bringing in bills for provisions for the Oswego garrison 

1 Manuscript letter ; Doctor Cadwallader Colden to Colonel Johnson. 

2 Manuscript letter; Colonel Johnson to Governor Clinton. 






LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 385 

which were never sent. To such a length did the spirit of chap. 
faction lead. 1 Colonel Johnson was thus placed in an ex- w v _, 
ceedingly embarrassing position. For nearly three years 175 °- 
past he had himself advanced almost all the money needed 
for the defense of the frontiers and for treating with the 
Indians, until there was now due him the sum of ,£2000. 
Fearing therefore that his private fortune would be ruined 
should this draft upon his funds continue, and there being 
no prospect of having his claims and services recognized, 
he sent in to the council his resignation as superintendent of 
Indian affairs, 2 — dispatching, at the same time, belts to the 
different Indian castles informing them that he no longer 
had the charge of their affairs. To Governor Clinton this 
step was not entirely unexpected, but among the Confede- 
rates the announcement, as was natural, carried surprise 
and consternation ; so much so that that they made it the 
subject of a special belt at the next council, held at Albany 
the following summer. 3 

1 Manuscript letter ; David Jones (at this time speaker of the house) to 
Colonel Johnson. 

2 Colonel Johnson to Governor Clinton. 

3 It is true that Cadwallader Colden in a letter to Governor Clinton (pub- 
lished in the iV. Y. Col. Doc. vi, 139) seems to hint that this action on the 
part of Johnson, was unexpected ; yet in a manuscript letter before me from 
the latter to Mr. Clinton, he clearly notifies the governor that he will not ad- 
vance money longer and must soon resign. In the course of this letter, after 
suggesting that Colonel Lydius should be appointed in his place, and giving 
some information in relation to the Indians, Johnson adds, " as this is per- 
haps the last item of Indian news 1 shall ever have occasion to trouble your 
excellency with, I should be very glad if it were made the best use of." In 
another letter to Governor Clinton, also, Johnson writes, " there will be, 
some expense attending my resignation which I think should not be borne 
by me." Mr. Colden must therefore be mistaken. 



49 



CHAPTERXI. 
1750—1751. 

Peace had once more spread her wings over the Ameri- 
XI - can Colonies. The farmer, hanging his trusty rifle over the 
^^ fireplace, could again sow his fields without fear of the 
whistling bullet or the reeking tomahawk. The little 
child, clinging no longer to its mother's breast in frantic 
terror as the savage warwhoop was borne past on the mid- 
night air, slumbered peacefully in its cradle. And the 
plowman, as he trudged home at nightfall from a weary 
day's work, looked forward to the greetings of his wife and 
children, rather than a lonely and desolated hearth. 

The treaty of Aix La Chapelle, however, was received 
by the colonies with less satisfaction than might have been 
anticipated, from the termination of the bloody war, 
which had for so long a period desolated her frontiers. 
By this treaty — a treaty which has been justly character- 
ised, as "the most inglorious and impolitic compact to 
which Britain had acceded since the revolution of 
1588" — it was agreed that all conquests which had been 
obtained by either side, should be restored. In accord- 
ance with this agreement, England surrendered Cape 
Breton to France, receiving in return only a slight advan- 
tage toward the preservation of that mythical idea — the 
balance of power. 1 After an immense expenditure of 

iThe basis of the treaty, as between England, France and Spain, was a 
mutual release of all prisoners without ransom, and a restoration of all 
conquests. Silesia was secured to Frederick, and the hereditary domin- 
ions of the empress queen were guarantied to her according to the Prag- 
matic Sanction. With this restoration of conquests, the American colonists 
had the mortification to see Cape Breton, with the fortress of Louisburg, 
surrendered back to France as an equivalent for the towns in Flanders 
taken by the French from the Germans, her allies. England, moreover, 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 387 

money ; and after a bloody and disastrous war, Eng- chap. 
land came from the convocation at Aix La Chapelle, in the >— ^-> 
eyes of every true hearted Englishman, humbled and 176 °- 
abased. The news of the peace was received by JN"ew 
England, with even stronger feelings of indignation than 
by her sister colonies. She felt that Cape Breton — for 
the capture of which she expended so much blood and 
treasure — had been sacrificed merely to gratify and 
sustain the selfish policy of the mother country. The 
private correspondence of this period — the surest test, per- 
haps, of the real state of public opinion in any age — 
teems with the strong feelings of men, who feel that they 
have been duped. Especially Was this indignation preva. 
lent among those who had served against the French ; and 
who after receiving so many scars in defence of English 
honor, saw it now sullied and disgraced. 1 

But though the peace between England and France was 
now formally consummated, it required no prophetic 
vision to foresee, that in a short time, it would be a peace 
only in name. In the articles of the treaty, no mention 
whatever was made of the French encroachments upon 
the territory of the Iroquois, although the first care of 
England should have been, to insist upon the removal of 
Fort Frederick at Crown Point. The boundaries between 
the English and French possessions, along the rivers 
Mississippi and St. Lawrence, and the limits even of Nova 
Scotia, one of the original causes of the war, were left 
entirely undetermined ; it being tacitly understood, that 
the boundaries should remain as they were before the war. 2 

had stooped to send two hostages, persons of rank, to remain in France, 
as a pledge for this restoration. — Smollett ; see also Grahame. 

1 In a manuscript letter to Colonel Johnson, from an officer who 
had left the walks of private life for the army, occurs the following 
passage. " Nothing would give me more pleasure than to have the honor to 
serve his majesty, but believe me if ever I get into a good way of life 
again I shall be very cautious how I quit it." 

2 Commissioners, it is true, were appointed to settle these boundaries, 
but their proceedings were conducted with such asperity, as rendered their 
proceedings a mere farce. 



388 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. When these limits were so indefinite as to occasion the 
w v — - dispute, it was not to be supposed that they would give 
1750. 110 more trouble, now that the dispute was brought to a 
close by a hollow peace. The result is readily seen. Each 
government hastened to occupy as much land as possible 
in advance of the other ; and the formation of the Ohio 
company, with a grant from the crown of six hundred 
thousand acres, determined France to push forward with 
greater alacrity the bold design which she had formed as 
early as 1731, in erecting Fort Frederick on Lake Cham- 
plain. This was no less than the connecting the St. LaAv- 
rence with the Gulf of Mexico, by a chain of forts along 
that river to Detroit, and down the Ohio to the Mississippi. 
In accordance with this project, La Galissoniere, in 1749, 
deputed Celoron de Bienville to occupy the valley of the 
Ohio ; and that officer, pursuing his instructions, proceeded 
down the Ohio in a canoe, burying at the mouth of every 
large creek a plate of lead, with the inscription, that from 
the rise of the Ohio to its mouth, the country belonged to 
France. 1 

But the French government, well aware that the posses- 
sion of the Ohio, would lose much of its value, so long 
as a free communication was open to the New England 
colonies, resolved to lose no time in gaining the Iroquois 
as allies, and thus interpose a formidable barrier against 
the designs of the English. 

In pursuance of this project, Rev. Abbe Picquet, aided 
by the French government, established, in 1749, a mission 
school on the St. Lawrence, at the mouth of the Oswegat- 
chie river, called La Presentation. 2 

Francis Picquet, the founder of this mission, was a man 
peculiarly formed for this undertaking. A zealous priest 
and a staunch soldier, the crozier and the sword were to 
him alike familiar. On several occasions, he had accom- 

1 Paris Doc. x. 9 — "Within a few years, one of these plates, with the 
inscription partially effaced, has been found near the mouth of the Mus' 
lungum." North Amerie&n Review for July, 1839. 

2 Ogdensburgh. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 389 

panied the Indians in their incursions upon the English chap. 
settlements ; and was with the party that destroyed the w^— / 
fort at Saratoga, and the Lydius mills. 1 His keen mind 175 °- 
had early foreseen the war which was to rage so fiercely 
between his nation and the English ; and he had long 
urged the policy of receiving the Six Nations as allies. 
"When therefore the necessity was seen of cultivating the 
friendship of the latter, as a step toward the secure 
possession of the west, the proposition of Picquet to La 
Galissoniere, to establish a mission for the conversion of 
the Six Nations, was readily accepted. 2 

The site chosen by Picquet for the mission, evinced 
his sagacity. 3 Situated on the St. Lawrence, between 
Oswego and Montreal, the passage of the English 
into Canada by this route could readily be intercepted. 
Its proximity to Lake Ontario served to aid and protect 
the posts which had already been erected on that lake by 
the French ; while its fine harbor afforded a secure shelter, 
for the bateaux that passed up the St. Lawrence from 
Montreal with supplies for the French traders at the 
different posts on the lake. The establishment of this 
mission, was the occasion of much solicitude on the part 
of the colonies ; while its effect upon the minds of the 
Indians was exceedingly dreaded by Colonel Jorihson. 4 
These apprehensions were not unfounded, for in the next 
war La Presentation formed a rendezvous, from which 
scalping parties were fitted out ; and which committed 
such depredations along the JSTew York frontier and the 

1 Fort Edward. 

2 Picquet was called by the French "the Apostle of the Iroquois;" by 
the English " the Jesuit of the west." 

3 It is true that in an account of the war from 1749 — 1700, published under 
the direction of the Quebec Hist. Soc. in 1835, an anonymous writer calls 
La Presentation, Picquet's Folly ; but the writer evidently bears such a 
personal enmity against Picquet, that his authority, on this point, is of no 
value. 

* Manuscript correspondence between Colonel Johnson and Mr. Clinton. 



390 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Mohawk river, as to lead General Gage to destroy the 

w«< place in 1757. 1 

1750. While the French were thus vigorously at work in the 
north and west, they were not less active in the south. 
As by the late treaty, there was no pretense for active 
hostilities, the policy of the French was now, to stir up 
dissensions among the different tribes friendly to the 
English. By fomenting animosities between the Indians, 
and causing them to prey upon each other, they hoped 
finally to compass their utter anihilation, and thus deprive 
their ancient enemy of the aid and support of its 
dusky allies — a diabolical plan, well worthy of the time 
of Nero, but scarcely to be credited of the civilization of 
the eighteenth century ! While, therefore, Picquet was 
exerting his influence upon the Six Nations from La Pre- 
sentation, on the St. Lawrence, Jean Cceur was sent to the 
tribes bordering on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The 
indomitable perseverence of these emissaries, was for the 
time but too successful. Through their influence — obtained 
by the lavish use of presents — the minds of the Six 
Nations, and a few of the western tribes, became greatly 
inflamed against the Catawbas, a small tribe depending 
chiefly upon Virginia, and residing principally in the 
Carolinas ; and they were again, in violation of their 
promises to Governor Clinton, preparing for a devastating 
war upon that people. 2 

Ever alive to the interests of the crown, Johnson, early 
in the previous year, had written to Clinton, informing 
him of the growing ill feeling of the Confederates against 
the Catawbas ; and had advised the holding of a council, 
at some place where the Confederates and the Catawbas 
could meet, and conclude a treaty of peace. 3 At about 

1 History of St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, by Franklin B. Hough. 

2 Manuscript correspondence between Johnson and Clinton. 

3 As far back as the year 1740, it will be remembered, there had been a 
feud existing between the Catawbas and the Six Nations. It had, however, 
become almost extinct until it was revived with a thousand fold more 
intensity by Picquet and Coeur. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 391 

the same time, Governor Clinton was also informed by a chap. 
letter from Governor Glen of South Carolina, that the ^— y— > 
Senecas had made several attacks upon the Catawbas, 175 ° 
which threatened to produce very serious disturbance. 
Mr. Glen farther wrote, that the northern Indians made 
the war upon this tribe an excuse for plundering and kill- 
ing the negroes and whites ; and that unless these inroads 
were stopped, he would be obliged to offer a reward for 
every northern Indian, w T ho might be killed within the 
settlement. 1 

Aware of the importance of nipping in the bud a mat- 
ter which threatened to involve the colonies in such serious 
complications, Governor Clinton determined to act upon 
the suggestions of Colonel Johnson, and summon a coun- 
cil. In view, however, of the active efforts which the 
French were making, to wean the different Indian nations 
throughout the country, from their old alliance, he deter- 
mined to have the ends of the council take a wider scope ; 
and have a general meeting of delegates from all the colo- 
nies, at which some plan of union might be adopted, to 
retain in the British interest, all those Indians who were 
originally included in the covenant chain. He therefore 
wrote to the several governors, requesting that they would 
express their views freely upon this subject; and that if 
the project struck them favorably, they would appoint 
delegates to meet in June of the next year. All the 
governors, with the exception of the governor of Virginia 
who did not vouchsafe any reply, responded favorably. 
Those of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and South Carolina, 
were, however, the only ones who entered heartily into 
the plan. The governors of New Hampshire and Penn- 
sylvania wrote, that they were favorably impressed with 
the idea, but that their assemblies were not disposed to 
vote money enough to furnish their delegates with presents 
for the Indians ; while the other governors, likewise ham- 
pered by their assemblies, were still more lukewarm, and 
still less disposed to enter into the arrangement. 

1 Governor Glen to Governor Clinton, 7th July, 1750. 



392 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



chap. Notwithstanding these discouragements, Governor 
w v _, Clinton announced his intention of meeting the Six 

1750. Nations at Albany the following year, and so informed 
Colonel Johnson. The latter immediately summoned 
both of the Mohawk castles together, and in a speech, 
informed the Indians of the governor's intention of meet- 
ing them in council, the following year at Albany. The 
object of the council, he told them, was to afford the Six 
Nations the opportunity of making a peace with the 
Catawbas, with whom they had been at war for some time. 
Tie represented to them, how wrong it was to war against 
a tribe that they had agreed to be at peace with, according 
to the treaty of 1740 ; and closed with a request, that they 
would choose their delegates to represent them in the 
approaching council. The Mohawks, in the name of the 
Confederacy, replied, that they would consent to a treaty, 
provided that the Catawbas would send six of their 
sachems to meet and confer with their chiefs at Albany. 1 

Shortly after this preliminary conference, Thomas Lee, 
president of the council in Virginia, sent a message to 
the Six Nations, desiring them to meet the Catawbas in 
Fredricksburgh, and receive the presents, which the 
governor of Virginia, on the part of his majesty, desired 
to give them. The Six Nations, however, feeling that 
they were the aggrieved party, thought the Catawbas ought, 
instead, to come and meet them ; and in their answer, 
desired the governor of Virginia " to move his council fire 
to Albany, where they would gladly hear him, and receive 
the presents sent by his majesty." 

1751. The preliminary conferences opened on the twenty- 

1 In the treaty of Lancaster, in 1744, between the provinces of Maryland 
and Virginia and the Six Nations, occurs this passage, spoken by a sachem 
of the Six Nations : " You charge us with not acting according to our peace 
with the Catawbas. We will repeat to you truly what was done. The 
governor of New York, at Albany, gave us several belts of wampum from 
the Cherokees and Catawbas, and we agreed to a peace, if those nations 
would send some of their great men to us to confirm it face to face, * * * 
but they never came." — Colderfs History of the Six Nations. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 393 

eighth of June. Commissioners from the colonies of chap. 
Massachusetts, Connecticut, and South Carolina were inv_^_/ 
attendance. Governor Clinton was also present, accom- 1751 - 
panied by Doctor Colden, James Alexander, James De 
Lancey and Edward Holland, members of the executive 
council. William Bull, the commissioner from South 
Carolina, and one of the counsellors of that province, 
brought with him the king of the Catawbas, and five of 
their sachems, who came on behalf of their people to treat 
with the Six Nations. The first day was chiefly taken 
up in treating with a party of Michillimackinac and 
Caughnawaga Indians, who, chancing to be in the vicinity 
at this time, came in their canoes to Albany, " as a com- 
pliment," as they expressed it, "to his excellency;" 1 — 
while by the Six Nations, this interval was occupied in 
various forms and ceremonies usual when entering upon 
a solemn and lasting treaty. 

Early on the following morning, the Six Nations waited 
upon the governor, and desired a private interview. It 
was their wish, they said, to speak with him before the 
general council was opened, upon a matter which had 
been discussed that morning in their private deliberations. 
The audience was, of course, granted, and as soon as the 
delegation was admitted, Hendrik, the Mohawk, proceeded 
to explain the object of their visit. They had come to 
consult with their Brother Corlear in relation to Colonel 
Johnson. "When the war broke out, he had been recom- 
mended to them by his excellency, who had then told them 
that whatever the colonel said to them they might rely on 
as coming from himself. Moreover, as they had no hand 
in his appointment to the charge of their affairs, so 
neither had they been instrumental in his resignation ; and 
he might judge therefore how shocked they were, on 
receiving from Mr. Johnson a belt notifying them of his 

1 The Caughnawagas, at the same time, said that they would immediately 
leave the city ; but so dilatory were they, that Mr. Clinton was obliged to 
send the Sheriff to expedite their departure. 

50 



394 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, intention to give up the care of their affairs. "Wehacl 
> — v — 'him," he continued, "in war, when he was like a tree that 
1751. g rew f or our us6) which now seems to be falling clown, 
though it has many roots. His knowledge of our affairs 
made us think him an Indian like ourselves ; and we are 
greatly afraid, as he has declined, that your excellency will 
appoint some person — a stranger both to us and our affairs." 
They therefore desired the governor to immediately rein^ 
state the colonel, and let them know his decision as. 
soon as possible — " for," added the Mohawk sachem, "he 
has large ears, and heareth a great deal ; and what he hears 
he tells to us. He has also large eyes, and sees a great 
way, and conceals nothing from us." In his reply, on the 
following day, Mr. Clinton stated that the recent action of 
Colonel Johnson had been taken contrary to his desire, 
and that his absence at this time was entirely unexpected, 
inasmuch as he had promised to be present and assist him 
with his advice. But since he absolutely refused to take 
any farther charge of their affairs, he could not help it, 
and he should therefore be obliged to appoint some other 
in his place. They might, however, rest assured, that in 
the appointment of a successor, he should be governed 
solely by a desire to promote their welfare which he had 
truly at heart. "You have more reason," added Mr. Clin- 
ton " to trust me in this, since Colonel Johnson, by whom 
you have been so well cared for, was my own selection." l 
The answer of the Indians was characteristic. They told 
the governor that one-half of Colonel Johnson belonged 
to his excellency, and the other to them ; and that since he 
could not prevail on the colonel to come down, they begged 
permission to try their influence by sending a message to 
him with a string of wampum. This request having been 
granted, provided they were as expeditious as possible, 
Hendrik immediately dispatched a fleet runner to Mount 
Johnson, with the remark that " he would go sooner than a 
horse." 

1 Manuscript council minutes. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 395 

Colonel Johnson, who was already on his way to the chap. 
council, met the Indian messenger near Schenectady ; and v-^L/ 
on his arrival in Albany, he was informed by Mr. Clinton 1751 - 
of the state of feeling among the Confederates, and in 
behalf of his majesty's council, earnestly requested to 
continue in the charge of their affairs. To this request, 
the colonel, who felt too much hurt at the manner in which 
he had been treated by the assembly to change his resolu- 
tion, gave a courteous but decided refusal. At the same 
time, however, his reasons for this course were given in 
full. It was impossible, he said, to continue longer in the 
management of Indian affairs, without great detriment, if 
not ruin, to his private fortune. It was well known that 
prior to the third day of November, 1748, he had advanced 
from his own purse, for the Indian department and the 
supply of the garrison at Oswego — after others had declined 
supplying that post because of the war — the sum of 
£1,117 3s. 2d. ; and that of this amount, although the items 
had all been duly sworn to by him and delivered into the 
assembly, that body had made provision only for £5,801 Is. 
4:d., leaving due a balance of £1,375 15s. 10d., for which no 
provision had as yet been made. He farther stated, that 
of this £5,801 Is. 4d^ for which he had received warrants 
on the treasurer several years since, there remained £2,401 
still unpaid, and that too, although he had good reason to 
believe that the Oswego duties — the fund out of which 
those warrants were paid — were amply sufficient to pay 
all drafts made upon it. This state of things was also the 
more galling, since he was well aware that warrants to 
others, of a much later date than his own, had been paid 
without any hesitation ; while at the same time, no steps 
had been taken to compensate him for this delay in the 
payment of these advances. He also reminded Mr. Clin- 
ton, that in addition to all this, he had advanced, at his 
excellency's request, since the third day of November 
1748, for the same objects, the farther sum of £595 12s. 8d., 
of which he had received no part, nor did he know of any 



396 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, provision made to meet it. In view therefore of all these 
^—y—/ considerations, while he entertained the kindest feelings 
1751 - toward the government, lie conld not, in justice to 
himself, continue longer in the Indian department— *■ 
especially since he could have no reason to depend on the 
assembly to provide for future advances. At the same 
time, however, he expressed his willingness to render all 
assistance, in an individual capacity, during the present, 
treaty. * 

The colonel's answer having been laid before the coun- 
cil, the latter desired the governor to exercise a supervision 
of Indian affairs during the treaty now in progress. At 
the same time, it requested him to lay before the crown 
the " uncommon and great sufferings, which Colonel John- 
son had sustained" in its behalf, and recommend that 
suitable recompense be given him, not only for the money 
which he had advanced, but likewise for his personal 
services, for which he had made no charge. 

Although the colonel had been appointed to his majesty's 
council in April of the previous year, yet it had not been 
convenient for him until now to take the oaths of office. 
The usual oaths were accordingly administered at this time, 
and he thereupon took his seat at the council board, — a 
seat which he continued to fill until his decease. 

Everything being now in readiness, Mr. Clinton opened 
the council on the sixth of July, with a short speech to 
the Six Nations, in which the object of the present meet- 
ing was fully set forth. It was, he said, to brighten and 
strengthen the covenant chain, that it might endure for all 
time against the designs of their enemies. The governor 
of Canada, especially, was endeavoring to break this chain, 
by obstructing the trade between Albany and those distant 
Indians who passed through their country. "Another 
artifice," he continued, "which the enemies of our covenant 
chain make use of, is, to excite variance and war between 
the several Indian nations that are united with your 

1 Manuscript council minutes. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 397 

brethren the English, in the several parts of this great chap. 
continent. Nothing can so effectually weaken and at last ^^_ j 
entirely destroy the brethren, as their falling out among 1751 - 
themselves, and eventually killing and destroying one 
another. This is doing the work of your enemies ; while 
they sit looking on and laugh at your folly. If all the 
Indian Nations, united in friendship w T ith Carolina, Vir- 
ginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, this government, Con- 
necticut, Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, were 
truly and firmly united in the same councils, with love and 
friendship, how great would that power be, w T hat dread 
must it strike on your enemies, and who would dare 
attempt to hurt them. In order to accomplish this so much 
to be desired union, I have prevailed upon the governor 
of South Carolina to send a gentleman to this place, whom 
you now see here, and to send with him six of the chiefs 
of the Catawbas, who are now in this city ready to make 
peace with you and to become your fast friends, and to 
unite with you in our common cause — as in your former 
treaties in this place, you desired and solemnly promised 
to receive them as one flesh and blood with you on their 
coming to it. I therefore, by this belt, excite you to lay 
hold of the proffered peace and friendship with the Cataw- 
bas. It must tend to strengthen the covenant chain and 
the common interest of us all. I can no longer bear to 
see those who are our brethren, killing and destroying one 
another, and therefore I cannot doubt of your cheerfully 
agreeing to what I now propose." 

Two days afterward, the Confederates replied that as 
the commissioners came to renew the covenant chain with 
the Six Nations, they also were there for the same purpose ; 
and that as it was the wish of their brother Corlear, that 
they should make peace with the Catawbas, they would 
see and talk with them upon the subject. Mr. Bull then 
rose, and read a letter from the governor of South Carolina, 
expressive of his good will, and of his hopes that they 
would conclude a treaty w T ith the Catawbas and keep the 



398 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, covenant chain ever bright and free from rust. Se fol- 
s-^ — - lowed the reading of the letter by a few remarks in a 
1751. pi easan t strain, closing as follows : " We have heard what 
his excellency, Governor Clinton has said concerning -a 
peace, and what his excellency, the governor of South 
Carolina, has written to you, and also what I have now said. 
You will hear next what the chiefs of the Catawbas, who 
came here with me will say. They came to this council 
fire at Albany, to meet you, in order to make peace with 
you. They know it is the desire of the English that peace 
should be made between you, and you know it is the desire 
of the English, also. To open your ears, I give you this 
belt of wampum." 

As soon as the South Carolina commissioner had 
finished, the Catawba king and his chiefs approached the 
grand council singing a song of peace ; their ensigns, 
(colored feathers) being borne horizontally. " Every one 
present admired the decorum and dignity of their behavior, 
as well as the solemn air of their song. A seat was pre- 
pared for them at the right hand of the governor's com- 
pany. Their two singers, with the two ensigns of feathers, 
continued their song, half fronting to the centre of the 
old sachems, to whom they addressed their song, and 
pointed their feathers, shaking their musical calabashes, 
while the Catawba king was busily preparing and lighting 
the calumet of peace. The king first smoked, and pre- 
sented the calumet to Hendrik, w T ho gracefully accepted 
it and smoked. The king then passed the pipe to each 
sachem in the front rank, and several in the second rank 
reached to receive it from him, to smoke also. The 
Catawba singers then ceased, and fastened their feathers, 
calumets, and calabashes to the tent pole ; after which the 
king stood up and advancing, thus addressed the Six 
Nations" 1 

" Friends: I, last year, with the advice of my great men, 

1 This description is taken from Drayton to whom it was related by an eye 
witness. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 399 

determined to make a peace with you, and set out for that c "* p - 
purpose, but was taken sick by the way, which hindered w. v — > 
me. The same resolution remained in my heart, and the 17 ° • 
governor of Carolina, agreeing with me, consented to send 
a vessel to New York, that we might meet you here at this 
treaty, which greatly rejoiced me, and when I came away 
my towns all shook hands with me, and desired me, for 
them, to make a peace ; and I give this belt, which lias all 
my towns upon it, signifying that they all join in my desire. 

We are all friends to the English and desire to be so 
with our brethren the Six Nations ; and as some of your 
people are now out, that do not know of the peace, when 
they are all returned, and the path clear and safe, I will 
come to your towns and houses, and smoke with you, as I 
would in my own." * 

The king of the Catawbas, and the sachems with him, 
then advanced and shook hands with the Six Nations, who 
thereupon replied : 

" Brethren : "We are glad to see you here, and return you 
thanks for your kind speech. But as it is a thing of 
moment, we must take time to consider of it, and shall 
answer you this evening or to-morrow morning." 

It was not, however, until the tenth, that the Confede- 
rates were ready to give their answer ; when their chief 
sachem, having lighted a pipe and handed it to the Cataw- 
bas, thus spoke : 

Brethren the Catawbas : You came to our towns and fires 
to make peace with us, and we have heard your kind speech, 
and thank you for it, and as a token that you came to 
make peace, and were received as our friends, we give you 
this white belt of wampum, to wear about your necks, that 
all that see it, may know that you have been here and were 
received as our friends. 

This belt serves to make you more powerful, and give 
you short horns ; it has been a custom among all Indian 
nations, that when they come to sue for peace, they bring 

1 Council minutes. 



400 LIFE OF SIP, WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, some prisoners with them, and when yon return with 

v-^ — i prisoners, the peace shall be completed, and your horns 

1761. lengthened, and we give you a year to return with your 

prisoners, and if you do not come in that time, we shall 

look upon the peace as void. 

We will take your pipe up to the Mohawk's castles, 
being the first town you came to, as it were, and there sit 
and smoke, and think of you, and not go out to war, if 
you return within the time appointed by us." 

The treaty having been thus made, Governor Clinton 
distributed the presents, brought by the commissioners, 
among the Indians, and the council was formally dismissed ; 
but not until "the hatchet was buried irrecoverably deep, 
and a tree of peace planted, which was to be green as the 
Alleganies, and to spread its branches till its shadow should 
reach from the great lakes to the gulf of Mexico." x 

The general effect of this council, upon the Indians at 
least, was satisfactory. Although Governor Clinton was un- 
successful in persuading the several colonies to join in an 
alliance against the machinations of the French, yet the 
main object — that of prevailing upon the Six Nations to 
conclude a treaty with the Catawbas— was accomplished. 
Early in June of the following year, the Catawbas, desi- 
rous of performing their part of the agreement, sent to the 
Confederates a Cayuga prisoner in charge of four of their 
warriors ; and thus the feeling of hatred entertained by the 
Six Nations toward that nation — which had been so bitter 
before the treaty, as to cause the confinement of the 
Catawba chiefs in a separate apartment — was now changed 
to that of cordial friendship. 2 



1 Bancroft. 

2 Manuscript letter : John Ogilvie to Colonel Johnson. The Catawbas, at 
the time of the treaty, held in captivity three of the Six Nations ; but during 
the year one had died, and the other refused to come by sea, preferring to 
remain in South Carolina until he could come by land.— Governor Glen to 
Governor Clinton. 

Shortly after the arrival of the Catawba braves, Johnson wrote to Clin- 
ton, that the peace between that people and the Confederates was fully 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM J0IINS0X, BART. 

Previous to his departure for Albany, Mr. Clinton had chap. 
requested a farther appropriation for Indian presents in • — „ — ■ 
addition to the sum voted at a former session; and the 175L 
legislature, in a better spirit than usual, had at that time 
promised to supply any deficiency in that regard, which 
might arise, in brightening the covenant-chain with the 
Six Nations. In the fall session of the assembly, however, 
the spirit of faction was again manifest, notwithstanding 
three of the chief leaders of the opposition had died since 
its last sitting — Mr. Clarkson, Mr. Philipse and Mr. Mi- 
chaux. In his opening message, on the eighth of October, 
Mr. Clinton communicated to the house the result of the 
late treaty. The resignation of Colonel Johnson was at- 
tributed to its negligence in omitting to pass bills adequate 
for the support of the Indian department; and the designs 
of the French, and the consequent importance of sending 
agents to the distant western tribes, urged. The message 
closed by asking for the usual supplies for the mainten- 
ance of the government. 

The house in its answer, the following day, said that it 
would cheerfully provide for the support of his majesty's 
government, and make provision for all the just debts that, 
on examination, should be found chargeable on the colony ; 
that it was well aware that the security of the colonies 
depended, in a great degree, upon the fidelity of the 
Indians, but it had hoped that the sum of one thousand 
pounds, voted for that purpose, would have been amply 
sufficient to place the Indian affairs on such a basis, as to 
render a farther sum unnecessary. In the mean time, the 
several particulars of his excellency's speech should be at- 
tentively considered, and that which was judged best for 
his majesty's service, and for the welfare of the colony, 
should be done. Finally, it reminded his excellency, that 
many of the members had not been notified by the usual 

ratified ; and that the Catawbas had returned into their own country, es- 
corted by several Iroquois warriors, who had volunteered to see them safely 
through those nations, who might not have heard of the recent peace. 

51 



402 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, circular letters of the present session of the assemhly, a 
« — ^—, circumstance which it hoped would not again occur. Mr. 
1761 - Clinton, in his answer, stated that while it was true that 
the presents which he had given the Indians, at Albany, 
had produced a favorable effect, yet, unless the expense 
of daily providing for them was met, the good impression 
made at that time would soon be obliterated by the French 
priests. He also promised to lay before the assembly in a 
few days information lately received upon this point, which 
would render his remarks more clear. Alluding to the 
thousand pounds to which reference had been made, 
nothing, he said, would give him greater pleasure than to 
send down to the house a full account of the manner in 
which it had been expended ; and as to the neglect, of 
which he had been accused, in not notifying the members, 
it was not true, as his deputy secretary had sent letters to 
all the members, with the exception of the speaker. He 
farther added, in conclusion, that he had made this expla- 
nation to show how entirely he was influenced by the de- 
sire of advancing the security and welfare of the colony. 1 
In accordance with his promise, Mr. Clinton, on the 
ninth, sent to the house the accounts relating to the dis- 
position of the thousand pounds, accompanied with ex- 
tracts from the minutes of the late council. 2 

On the thirteenth of September, Mr. Clinton had 
laid before his privy council letters from Colonel John- 
son and Captain Stoddard, the contents of which were 
indeed startling. From a French deserter the Colonel 
learned that a convoy of twelve hundred French, ac- 
companied by two hundred Adirondack Indians, had 
passed by Oswego about a fortnight before, with the ob- 
ject, so far as could be ascertained, of cutting off those 
western tribes friendly to the English, and driving off the 
Pennsylvania traders, who were erecting trading posts on 
the Ohio. Captain Stoddard's letter, also, confirmed this 

1 Journals of the assembly. 

2 Council minutes. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 403 

intelligence. Johnson farther wrote, that on the reeep- chap- 
tion of this news, he had immediately dispatched a mes- ^-^ 
senger, in the governor's name, with a belt of wampum, 1751 - 
to all the castles of the Six Nations, informing them of the 
march of the French. Letters arrived, at nearly the same 
time, from Lieutenant Lindesay, in command at Oswego, 
to the effect that a Cayuga sachem had arrived from the 
Missessagas, bringing the intelligence that the French 
were building a large vessel at Cadaracqui, with the de- 
sign of attacking his post. 1 Copies of these letters, Mr. 
Clinton now laid before the assembly, for its perusal 
and careful consideration. 

The apparent good temper, however, with which the 
proceedings between the executive and the assembly had 
thus far been conducted, was destined to be of short du- 
ration. The house having on the sixteenth sent up to 
the council for its approval " an act for paying several de- 
mands made on the colony," the latter replied, on the 
eighteenth, by sending Colonel Johnson to request of that 
body the vouchers for the several demands provided for 
in the bill. This was applying the torch to the powder. 
The house flamed at once. It immediately resolved, 
that " the demand was of an extraordinary and unprece- 
dented nature ;" and that its consideration should be post- 
poned until after the first of the ensuing May. No sooner 
had this action been communicated to the council, when 
they, in turn, becoming indignant, resolved that it was 

1 John Lindesay, founder of the Cherry Valley settlement, was a native of 
Scotland, and in December, 1730, received from his countryman, Governor 
Montgomerie, the commission of naval officer for the port of New York. 
He filled various other important offices, until, in 1744, Mr. Lindesay as- 
sumed the command of the fort at Oswego, Lieutenant Congreve resigning 
in his favor. In 1747, at the request of the Oswego traders and the Six 
Nations, Lieutenant Lindesay was continued in command of that post until 
1749, when he was appointed Indian commissary and agent for Oswego, 
which latter situation he retained until his death, which occurred in the 
latter part of this year. At the time of his death, Mr. Lindsay was a 
lieutenant in Captain Clark's company of Independent Fusileers. — Camp- 
bell's History of Tryon County. 



404 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, their unquestionable right to call for the vouchers ; inas- 
- — , — ■ much as the sum, sufficient for the demand, was to come 
1/5L out of the royal revenue, and that their consent was there- 
fore necessary. They also resolved, that they would not 
proceed on the bill until the vouchers appeared before 
them ; and at the same sitting, in no very amiable state 
of mind, sent Colonel Johnson again to the house with a 
bill of their own, for " applying the sum of five hundred 
pounds, for the management of Indian affairs, and for 
repairing the garrison at Oswego." The passage of this 
bill by the council, as might have been foreseen, was not 
calculated to molify the temper of the house inflamed, as 
it was, by the demand of the council for the vouchers. 
The bill was therefore refused a second reading ; and a 
motion was forthwith carried, — that inasmuch as the bill 
intrenched on the " great, essential and undoubted right 
of the representatives of the people of this colony to begin 
all bills for raising and disbursing of money, it should be 
rejected." 1 Directly upon the passage of this resolution, 
the house sent up to the governor an address, prepared in 
the same churlish manner as in times past. In it, the lack 
money for Indian affairs was greatly lamented — as if, 
indeed, it was not owing to themselves that a larger sum 
had not been voted. They even carried their spleen so far, 
as to hint that the governor had used the thousand pounds 
for purposes other than the public benefit; and that it 
was through his neglect that the Indian affairs were in such 
a condition. In conclusion, they threw upon the council 
the evil effects which would result from its refusal to pass 
the bill for the discharge of the colony debt ; and prayed 
the governor to pass straightway those of the bills which 
he approved. Three or four more days were taken up in 
wrangling and puerile resolves, until Mr. Clinton, who 
had learned by experience the folly of any farther alterca- 
tion, and passed all the bills without farther discussion, 
and without any notice and to the astonishment of all, 

1 Minutes of the assembly. 



LIFE OF SIR "WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 405 

dissolved the assembly. On the part of Mr. Clinton this chap. 
was a master stroke of policy. The assembly were fairly w^—/ 
caught. But having passed the support bill so early in the 175L 
session, they were left without a remedy. '* This gratified 
Mr. Clinton and the other officers of the government; 
while the neglect of the colony creditors, added to the 
governor's party, already strengthened by the appointment 
of Colonel Johnson to the council, and Mr. Chambers to 
the second place on the bench." 1 

Meanwhile the French were planning still farther 
encroachments upon the territory of New York. Already 
they possessed Crown Point, La Presentation and Niagara, 
and encouraged by the pusillanimity which had allowed 
them to take possession of those posts, they were now 
meditating the establishment of a military and missionary 
post on the banks of Onondaga Lake, which, while it 
would secure a foothold in the very heart of the province, 
would also, they thought, greatly strengthen their influence 
over the Six Nations. Preliminary to this audacious step, 
it was necessary that the Confederates, especially those 
residing in the immediate vicinity of the lake, should be 
courted into giving their consent. Accordingly the Jesuit 
emissaries insinuated themselves deeper than ever into the 
affections of that fickle people, and with such success, 
that at the close of the summer, several of the principal 
Onondagas had granted the desired permission. 

Such a design, however, could not long escape the vigil- 
ance of Colonel Johnson, who no sooner heard through. 
the Mohawks of the scheme afoot, when, braving the 
autumnal rains, he set otf for the old fire-place of the 
Confederacy, hoping, if possible, to defeat the machina- 
tions of La Oalissoniere and his wily priests. Arrived at 
Onondaga, he lost no time in summoning the chief men 
of that castle to a conference, in which after laying before 
them the dangerous consequences resulting from a French 

i Smith. 



406 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, settlement in the very centre of their Confederacy, boldly 
»— Y — ■ desired them, as a proof of their esteem, to grant him 
1/51. Onondaga Lake with the land around it for two miles in 
width — promising them in return a handsome present. 
This sudden appearance of the colonel upset at once all 
the deep laid plans of the Jesuits. Mortified at being thus 
caught in the very act of lending an ear to their ancient 
enemies, the chiefs hung their heads and in confusion 
agreed to his proposition. A deed conveying the entire 
lake with its two miles of land, was accordingly made out 
on the spot, and signed by the entire castle, the latter 
receiving in return, the sum of three hundred and fifty 
pounds sterling. Immediately on his arrival home, the 
colonel who had in making this purchase no other object 
than that of securing the property to the crown, and the 
consequent defeat of the French, communicated an account 
of the transaction to Mr. Clinton, — at the same time offer- 
ing the land to the government of New York at the same 
price which it had cost him. Refusing, however, to appre- 
ciate the important service which he had thus rendered, 
the assembly refused to reimburse him for the land ; and 
the matter thus rested until the summer of 1753, when a 
minute was made in council, granting this tract to him and 
his heirs, by way of reimbursement for the sum advanced 
by him for the Indian department. 1 Otherwise than this, 
his debt from the colony was never paid. 

1 Manuscript council minutes. 









CHAPTER XII. 
1752—1753. 
With the opening of the year, dawned a new era in chap. 
American literature. Signs of a greater appreciation of ^_^_/ 
learning and a desire for literary pursuits among the 1752 - 
colonies, are in this year too apparent not to deserve a 
passing notice. The clang of steel and the midnight alarms 
had now ceased ; and in the calm thought which followed, 
the literary seeds that had for so long a period laid dor- 
mant, found a rich soil in which to germinate and bring 
forth fruit. As in the age of the Reformation, and of 
Louis XIV, a company of stalwart literary giants sprung 
forth from the previous darkness , so in the period we are 
now upon, a score of men of power and vigorous intellect 
rose up in America, infusing new vigor into every depart- 
ment of letters with which they came in contact. The 
theological writings of Jonathan Edwards, with all their 
depth of philosophical eloquence, gave an impetus to 
that branch of scholarship hitherto unknown. It was in 
this year that Franklin electrified the savans of the Old 
World with his grand discovery. The universities of New 
England awoke to new life and activity. Schemes for the 
advancement of learning sprung up in the different 
provinces with wonderful rapidity. Libraries and philo- 
sophical societies were formed in every direction. Several 
men distinguished in the walks of scientific research visited 
America, and by their cordial sympathy encouraged greatly 
the enquirer after truth. The eye turns with pleasure to 
the names of John Winthrop, professor of mathematics at 
Cambridge, Thomas Godfrey, the inventor of Hadley's 
Quadrant, Davict Rittenhouse of Pennsylvania, and 
numerous others, whose names shine with lustre upon the 
page of history. * Confining ourselves to the province of 

1 Grahame. 



1752. 



408 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. K"ew York, Cadwallacler Colden had just completed that 
-remarkable book — the "History of the rive Nations;" 
and in this year the founding of Kings College began to 
be seriously urged. 

It is not to be supposed that with this literary zeal per- 
vading every mind, an intelligent man like Johnson could 
fail to be affected by it. Although in his spare moments, 
heretofore, he had always manifested a great fondness for 
literary pursuits and had repeatedly sent out to England 
for books, yet having a little leisure this year by his resig- 
nation of Indian affairs, he seems to have devoted much of 
his time to improving his own mind, and also the moral 
and social condition of those around him. The manner 
in which a portion of his time was spent at this period, 
may be inferred by the following letter to his agent in 
London. 

"Mount Johnson, August the 20th, 1752. 
"Sir: 

Having the pleasure of an intimate acquaintance with 
your brother, Doctor Shuckburgh of New York, whom I 
have a singular regard for, induced me to apply to you for 
what I may want in your way, although but a trifle. Having 
lately had a pretty large collection of books from London, 
shall at present only desire you will please to send me 
what pamphlets are new and worth reading ; also the Gen- 
tleman's Magazine from Nov'br. 1750 to the last, and 
the Monthly Review from the same time ; also the News- 
papers regularly and stitched up. You have only to 
deliver them to Mr. John George Liberwood, merch't. 
there, who will forward them to me, and will pay your 
am't. yearly. 

Having nothing farther to add at present (but beg you 
will send me those things regularly and punctually) I con- 
clude sir, 

Y'r very humble serv't., "W. J. 

To Mr. Shuckburgh, stationer, London. 1 '' 

f Manuscript Letter. See also appendix No. II. of vol. I. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



409 



The intellectual culture of the Mohawks was a subject chap. 
in which the colonel took special interest. The mission w v— ' 
school at Stockb ridge for Indian children, the plan of 1/52 - 
which was first projected by John Sergeant in 1741, and 
which after the death of the latter was carried on for a 
time by Jonathan Edwards, received at this time his par- 
ticular attention. Sir Peter Warren in 1751 had donated 
for the support of this institution seven hundred pounds, 
and about the same time had expressed to his nephew a very 
favorable opinion of its purpose, requesting that he would 
use his influence in its favor. * Had Johnson previous 
to this request no other incentive for his interest in it, this 
would have been sufficient. His efforts were now unremit- 
ting to persuade the Mohawks to send their children thither; 
and a correspondence was kept up between himself and 
the committee of this school on the subject. His advice 
upon its management was freely asked and as freely given ; 
and in a letter to him upon this topic, the writer says : 
"I can't but hope and pray for your further assistance in 
encouraging the Indians to send their children and con- 
tinue them steadily here, and your thoughts with regard 
to any measures that may naturally tend to promote this 
affair, and be proper for us further to do or attempt, will 
be very acceptable. 2 

JSTor were his efforts to benefit his savage neighbors con- 
fined solely to the school at Stockbridge. He was equally 
interested in other missions wherever located, and always 
used his influence for their support and encouragement. 
In the course of the following year (1753) Rev. Mr. Hawley 
was sent from Boston to establish an Indian mission school 

1 Manuscript Letter to Johnson from Joseph Dwight, one of the commit- 
tee of the mission school. 

2 Extract from the same. Hon. Joseph Dwight, whose letter is here 
referred to, was a liberally educated man. He had been speaker of the 
house of Massachusetts Bay, and a counselor, and led a regiment in the 
successful attack on Cape Breton. He married the widow of the Rev. Mr. 
Sergeant, the same who is mentioned in the text as the founder of the mis- 
sion school at Stockbridge. 

52 



410 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

C xii P * wes * °f Albany. On his way he stopped over night at 
^ — - Mount Johnson, hoping to obtain the colonel's countenance 
1782. m hjg p ro j ec t. This was cheerfully granted, and the mis- 
sionary sent on his way with a godspeed. 1 The colonel 
was also at this time in correspondence with Doctor Eleazer 
Wheelock, who had recently established a school in Leba- 
non, Connecticut, similar in its object to the one at Stock- 
bridge, and which afterwards grew into Dartmouth college. 
Several years later, the celebrated Joseph Brant, sent by 
the colonel, received at this school his English education. 
It is pleasant to dwell upon this phase of Johnson's char- 
acter, showing, as it does, that his mind was not wholly 
engrossed — as some would have us believe — in amassing a 
private fortune. 

It will be recollected that when I last spoke of Sir Peter 
"Warren, he had been obliged to retire through ill health 
to his country seat in Westbury, and had shortly afterward 
been elected to parliament from the city of Westminister. 
The capture of the French fleet of East Indiamen, of which 
an account has been given in a former chapter, was the 
last service he lived to perform ; for peace being concluded 
in the following year, the fleet was of course dismantled. 
But even in his retirement honors followed him. In May, 
1748, he received a distinguished mark of royal favor in 
being appointed vice admiral of the Red ; and in the early 

1 Rev. Mr. Hawley was before this an instructor of the Iroquois children 
at the Stockbridge mission under Mr. Edwards. Mr. Hawley thus speaks 
of his visit at this time to Colonel Johnson in a letter to Rev. Dr. Thatcher, 
published in the Mass. His. Col. vol. iv. " On Friday we left Albany. Mr. 
Woodbridge and I set out for Mount Johnson, about thirty-six miles off, to 
pay our compliments to Colonel Johnson, and obtain his countenance in 
favor of our mission. * * * At sunset we were politely received at 
Colonel Johnson's gate by himself in person. Here we lodged. His man- 
sion was stately, and situate a little distance from the river, on rising 
ground, and adjacent to a stream which turned his mill. This gentleman 
was well known in his civil, military and private character. He was the 
first civil character in the county of Albany at that day. * * * It was 
favorable to our mission to have his patronage, which I never lost." 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



411 



part of the present year, the citizens of London presented chap. 
him with the freedom of the city and the Goldsmith's Wy— / 
company. They also wished to make him an alderman 1752 - 
for Billingsgate ward in the place of the lord mayor, 
deceased. This latter honor, however, Sir Peter cour- 
teously declined, " assigning as a reason, that his past pro- 
fession must prevent him in a great measure, from dis- 
charging properly the duties of that office." The citizens 
nevertheless persisted in electing him for their alderman ; 
upon which Sir Peter, on the twenty-third of June, wrote 
to the court of aldermen declining to serve, and enclosing 
at the same time the fine of five hundred pounds. Shortly 
afterward, Sir Peter hoping that the air of his native hills 
would improve his health, went to Ireland. The hope was 
fallacious, for scarcely had he landed when a severe inflam- 
matory fever carried him off" on the twenty-ninth of July. 
He died " universally lamented by all persons, who agreed 
that there could not exist a better and honester man, or a 
more gallant officer. Few men ever attained to a greater 
share of popularity. It w r as said of him that he had not 
only the singular happiness of being universally courted, 
esteemed, and beloved, but had the additional consolation 
of having passed through life without making a single 
enemy." 1 

By no one was the death of Admiral Warren felt with 
more acuteness than the Johnson family. Sir Peter had 
been to them all the kindest of benefactors ; and was 
looked up to with feelings of gratitude and affection. This 
is evident from the following letter, written to Colonel 
Johnson by his brother, a few days after his uncle's decease. 

"London, Aug. 4th, 1752. 

" My Dear Brother : It's with the utmost sorrow I give 

you the most dismal account of the death of our most 

dear, dear uncle, who died in Dublin last Wednesday night, 

29th July, of a most violent fever, which carried him off 

1 Biographia JVavalis. — Charnock. 



412 • LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, in four clays. I was up day and night with him, and w T ould 
v»^_/ to God I'd have died in his stead. Oh my dear brother, 
1752. g UC h grief as our poor family are in, is inexpressible, for 
we have lost our all in all. And you, I am sure, will be 
as much shocked as mortal living, but let me beg of you 
to muster up all of your resolution to bear this most dismal 
account. I arrived here in two days from Dublin with the 
melancholy news to Lady Warren, whom from my very 
heart I pity, and hope God will preserve her life for her 
poor family's sake. He made his will two days before he 
died, and how he has settled his affairs no one as yet 
knows, nor I till I return with her directions to have it 
opened. I set out in two hours and expect to be in Dublin 
the 7th. He is to be interred at Pock Mark in a private 
manner. His executors are Lady Warren, Captain Tyrrell, 
and the Chief Justice De Lancey, and be assured of a faith- 
ful account of everything as soon as his will is opened. 

" I hope in God, my dear brother will endeavor to bear 
this shock with patience. Our loss is very, very great, and 
what to do now with myself I know not. I shall let you hear 
from me by the first opportunity after my arrival in Ireland. 
I shall write this miserable account to my cousin Captain 
Tyrrell, who will be, I am sure, greatly shocked. I have 
not time to add more. My love to brother Ferrall, 1 and 
believe me, my dear brother, ever yours, 

" Most affectionately and faithfully, 

"Warren Johnson." 2 

To Colonel Johnson the death of his uncle must indeed 
have been a terrible blow. Although I have not been able 
to find among his papers the answer to the above letter, 
yet undoubtedly it was full of corresponding sympathy 
and affection. 

As by Sir Peter's death, the council lost one of its mem- 
bers, William Smith, at the recommendation of Mr. Clin- 

1 Ferrall Wade, Johnson's brother-in-law. He was killed in the action of 
the 8th of September, 1755, at Lake George. 
3 Manuscript letter. 



Sfcag^P 




Richard Tyrrel E%T 

late Captain of the Buckingham. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 413 

ton, was appointed by the crown to fill the vacant seat. This chap. 
gentleman was at this time a flourishing lawyer in the city >— ^~ ; 
of New York, and had first gained Mr. Clinton's goodwill, 1752 - 
by his prosecution of Mr. Oliver De Lancey — brother of 
the chief justice — for his abuse of the governor. 1 On the 
death of the attorney general in this year, Mr. Clinton 
appointed him to that office, which he filled with great 
credit and reputation, until the arrival from England of 
William Kempe, who had received the appointment from 
the crown, unknown to the governor. 2 The latter did not 
present the claims of Mr. Smith, without opposition ; — 
Colonel Morris, formerly a member of the council under 
Governor Montgomery, sending in at the same time a 
memorial praying for the appointment. The influence, 
however, of Mr. Clinton at court, was too powerful to be 
overcome, and Mr. Smith took his seat at the council 
board, upon the thirtieth of April of the following spring. 
To the new assembly, which met in October, many of 
its former members, friends of the chief justice, were 
returned. Its principal feature was the absence of the long 
messages both from the executive and the house, which 
had characterized its former sessions. Both parties seemed 
resolved to make them models of brevity. Mr. Clinton's 
opening message was comprised in fifteen lines ; and the 
address of the house in reply, scarcely exceeded it in length. 
This is attributed by Mr. Smith to the fact of his own 
advice and that of Mr. Alexander having been taken by 
the governor, rather than that of Mr. Golden, " whose 
incautious and luxuriant compositions had so frequently 
kindled the party fires," which had increased the popularity 
of the chief justice "whom he was most anxious to pull 
down." 3 Be this as it may, it i3 certain that during the 

1 Manuscript letter. 

2 Governor Clinton to the Lords of Trade. 

3 Smith. Mr. Clinton had recently lost the support of Dr. Colden, by his 
having urged, in opposition to the latter's wishes, Robert Hunter Morris 
for lieutenant governor. Mr. Alexander was chosen by Clinton as his chief 
adviser in place of Colden. 



414 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, present session, there was none of that bitterness which 
xii. * . ' 

v— y— / had characterized former sessions. 

1752. Tlie most noticeable action of the present assembly, was 
its voting to provide, at their next sitting, for the repairing 
of the different fortifications along the frontier ; for the 
rebuilding of the trading-post at Oswego, now in a ruinous 
condition ; and for the founding of a college for the educa- 
tion of the youth of the colony. A new board of com- 
missioners was also appointed to take charge of the Indian 
department, which, by the resignation of Colonel Johnson, 
had been deprived of his services. It would appear, how- 
ever, by the following extract from a letter written by Mr. 
Clinton to the colonel, under date of November fifth, that 
the former commissioners were still sore from their pre- 
vious dismissal. The letter itself is addressed to the 
colonel, in the care of Captain Ross, New York, whither 
the former had come to attend the council : 

" I find the assembly are determined to go upon com- 
missioners for Indian affairs again, and as I cannot, without 
inconvenience, prevent it, I send for your perusal a list of 
persons proposed for my approbation for that commission. 
I cannot help observing that they are picked out of almost 
all your inveterate opposers ; therefore should be glad of 
your opinion, for I can but think it justice, that I should 
have the nomination of one-half, at least, of them. I 
shall be at the fort Tuesday next, when I shall be glad 
if you would dine with me, and in the interim think what 
I can do in it. " l 

The result was a compromise — the governor rejecting 
six or one-half of the names sent in for his approval, and 
the house putting in their place, the members of the 
executive council, the commanding officer at Albany, the 
representatives of the general assembly, and the mayor 
and recorder of Albany ex-officio. 2 The affair of Indian 

1 Manuscript letter. 

2 Manuscript council minutes. The list for commissioners enclosed in 
Mr. Clinton's letter to the colonel, was Myndert Schuyler, Philip Schuyler, 
David Schuyler, Johannis Janse Lansingh, Hendrick Bleecker, Hans Han- 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 415 

commissioners being; thus settled, Mr. Clinton, on the chap. 
& ' t ' XII. 

eleventh of November, passed all the bills, including the y—^—' 
one for providing for the payment of the salaries of gov- 1752 - 
ernment officers out of the duties, and prorogued the 
assembly to the first Tuesday of the following March. 

It may at first appear singular that as Mr. Clinton had 
dissolved the last assembly on account of his trouble with 
the opposition, the tone of this new one should be so 
entirely different, especially since,* as before observed, 
nearly all of the opposition had been returned. The solu- 
tion of this is found in a glance at the political complexion 
of affairs, as they now stood. Mr. De Lancey began to 
fear that he had gone a little too far. He knew that Mr. 
Clinton held in his hands a commission for him as lieuten- 
ant governor; and his object thus far had been to render 
his position so uncomfortable that he would be obliged to 
resign and thus give him greater scope for his ambition. 1 
Mr. Clinton's success, however, at court, as shown by his 
securing for his friends seats at the council board, caused 
alarm. He knew, also, from his friends in England, that 
the governor, who was thinking of soon leaving the prov- 
ince on account of ill health, had written several letters to 
the board of trade, requesting permission, without pro- 
ducing De Lancey' s commission, to leave Colden, by virtue 
of being president of the council, in command of the 
colony. 2 The very idea of his most inveterate enemy, 
being thus placed in power, drove the chief justice well 
nigh distracted. Mr. Charles, moreover, had written to 
the speaker of the assembly, that measures were on foot 
to have the commission appointing De Lancey lieutenant 
governor revoked, and to have Robert Hunter Morris 

son, Jacob H. Ten Eyck, Johannis Cuyler, Sybrant G. Van Schaick, Johan- 
nis Glen, Gerardus Groesbeck, and Johannis Van Rensselaer. The com- 
missioners retained and substituted, were Myndert Schuyler, Cornelius 
Cuyler, Hendrick Bleecker, John Beekman, Johannis Lansingh, jr.. and 
Jacob C. Ten Eyck. 

1 Review of military operations in America. 

2 Clinton to the board of trade. 



416 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, appointed in his stead. l The chief justice, therefore, 
v—y--/ fearing the loss of the commission — than which nothing 
1752. was farther from his thoughts — saw that he must play his 
cards differently if he would win. In addition to all this, 
the disputes between the provinces of New York and New 
Jersey in relation to the boundary line, were still unsettled ; 
and it was evident that so long as the disputes between 
the assembly and the governor continued, they would be 
as far off from an adjustment as ever. Those families of 
the province who held large estates, had grown weary of 
these continual wranglings ; and now gave the chief justice 
pretty plainly to understand, that if he would retain his 
popularity, he must cease his opposition. This was 
touching Mr. De Lancey in a vital spot; for he could not, 
for the present at least, afford to lose anything that 
might tend to further his ambition. He therefore became 
more cautious and less open in his opposition ; and the 
remainder of Mr. Clinton's administration was passed in 
comparative freedom from those storms of faction, which 
had raged so fiercely between himself and the assembly. 2 

Serious difficulty was experienced this year in the collec- 
tion of the Oswego duties. Considerable complaint had 
arisen of late in regard to the irregular manner in which the 
duties were collected ; and hints of a dishonorable nature 
had been freely expressed against those who had them in 
charge. Now, however, direct charges of peculation were 
brought against John De Peyster and Peter Schuyler Jun., 
two of the commissioners ; who, to say the least, had been 
guilty of great ill management and criminal neglect. The 
dissatisfaction at length grew so serious, as to lead Mr. 
Clinton to take the matter in hand ; and he accordingly 
wrote to Colonel Johnson, requesting him to ferret out 
the true facts. The following extract from the colonel's 
reply, seems to show that the charges were not ill founded. 

1 Morris was appointed governor of Pennsylvania in 1754. 

2 Smith. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

"As to that affair of the Oswego duties," he writes, chap 
" although a cursed piece of villainy, yet it is very diffi- >— y— > 
cult to find out. De Peyster hap owned to me that he has 1752 ' 
not entered into recognizance these several years. The 
mayor tells me, also, that when he sent for Peter Schuyler 
to qualify, he then sent for De Peyster likewise, and he 
refused it, notwithstanding he has acted all the time. On 
talking to him some time ago about the yearly amount of 
duties, he acknowledged that they amounted to upwards of 
£1000, the year 1749, so that the other three years, which 
he mentions in his accounts delivered to the assembly, the 
duties are but about £145, as you'll see in the last notes, p. 
32 — a most damnable imposition on the public, yet I can- 
not sift it out, without he is to produce his books." 1 

Doubts as to the duties having been honestly collected, 
had arisen in the assembly the previous year, and they had 
at their sitting in the fall ordered "that the commis- 
sioners, for collecting the duties on goods carried to 
Oswego, do, with all convenient speed, lay before the 
house, a particular account on oath, of what the said 
duties have amounted to, from the delivery of the accounts, 
to the first of September last." 2 In accordance with this 
order John De Peyster sent in his accounts on oath, by 
which it appeared, that the duties, from June 1746 to Sep- 
tember 1750, amounted to £1145, 17s. Sd. Thus, from 
the acknowledgment made to the mayor, it would appear, 
as Johnson observes, that only a trifle over £145 was left for 
the years '47, '48 and '50 — a fact which fully justified the 
suspicion of unfair dealing. No farther action however, 
was taken ; for although scarcely any one doubted their 
dishonesty, yet owing to the want of positive proof, it was 
difficult to fix the charges upon the parties to this trans- 
action, and they therefore escaped. They were never- 
theless more cautious in future, and De Peyster in his 
next accounts for the year 1751, showed the amount of 

1 Manuscript letter. 

2 Journals of the general assembly. 

53 



418 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

C xn P ' duties received to be something over £940 ! Johnson 

1752. 



interfered grievously with their knavish plans, and hence, 
the bitter malignity with which he w T as pursued by a few 
individuals, during the remainder of his life. 



Clouds still hung along the border of the northern 
frontier. In the summer of this year, a scalping party of 
St. Francis Indians surprised four young men, who were 
trapping beaver along the head waters of the Connecticut 
river. One of these was John Stark, a native of New 
Hampshire, and a bold and fearless hunter. When he 
found himself surprised, he shouted to his brother, who 
was in a canoe, to gain the opposite shore. This he did 
and escaped, though not before a young man with him in 
the boat had been shot at and killed. Stark, with his 
companion Eastman, was carried up the Connecticut river, 
and down Memphremagog to the chief village of the 
tribe. While there, he conducted himself with so much 
courage and good humor, as to win the affection of his 
captors, who dressed him in their finest robes, and 
cherished him with so much kindness, as to allow him, 
upon receiving a ransom, to return to his friends. The 
lessons of woodcraft which Stark learned in this early cap- 
tivity, qualified him to render efficient service in the next 
war, from which by his courage and energy he rose to 
the rank of brigadier general in the armies of the United 
States. 1 

The general assembly met in March, but was by 
successive prorogations, prevented from sitting until 
May. In his opening message on the thirtieth, Mr. Clin- 
ton expressed his satisfaction at the resolves passed during 
the last session,- — to take at this meeting, the state of the 
frontier fortifications, and the Indian affairs into consider- 
ation ; having, as he said, the fullest confidence in their 
honor and justice. ~Nor did he fail to speak in the warm- 
est terms of their determination to advance the cause of 

1 Belknap. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 419 

learning, by the founding of a college; and lie hoped that chap. 
the plan would receive their warmest encouragement, and' — , — > 
be speedily carried into effect. He, also, informed them 1763 - 
of the encroachments which had been made upon the 
province by the colonies of New Hampshire and Massa- 
chusetts Bay ; advising, that committees from both houses 
should be appointed to concert the proper measures to be 
taken in this affair, in which, he assured them of his 
hearty assistance. He then alluded to the colony debts, 
among wdiich was the long standing claim of Colonel 
Johnson ; and closed with a promise to do everything in 
his power to promote the welfare of the colony. 1 

The assembly in its reply, two days afterward, thanked 
the governor in the warmest terms for his kind offer of 
assistance, promising to do everything in its power for the 
interest of the colony. Both the executive and the house 
seemed to be animated by the same spirit of harmony, 
which, indeed, continued throughout the entire sessiom 
]S~or did the assembly confine itself to words. A commit- 
tee, of the legislative council and the house, met on the 
'New England encroachments, and passed a bill authorizing 
a committee to prepare a representation upon this grievance 
for the king's ministers. 2 A bill was also passed for 
raising a sum by lottery for the college ; the colony debt, 
incurred during the late war, discharged ; money voted for 
the fortifications ; and the sum of eight hundred pounds 
appropriated for Indian presents. 3 

While the general assembly was sitting, a letter to 
Colonel Johnson from Captain Stoddard, and one also 
from Lieutenant Holland to Mr. Clinton, both dated at 
Oswego, informed the executive council that the French 
were again active and threatened serious trouble. On the 
fourteenth of May, thirty French canoes, Avith five hundred 

1 Journals of the assembly. 

-i The committee were all members of the house, and consisted of David 
Jones, John Thomas, Paul Richards, William Walton, Henry Cruger, and 
John Watts. 

3 Smith. 



420 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



XII 

1753 



chap. Indians under the command of Monsieur Marin, passed 
that post on their way to the Ohio River. By a Frenchman, 
lately arrived at Oswego, it appeared that this was only 
the advance guard of an army of six thousand men, which 
the French had been concentrating, preparatory to their 
taking possession of the Ohio Valley. Their object was 
to support — by building forts along the Ohio, and if neces- 
sary > by force of arms — their claim to the lands bordering 
upon that river ; and to eject those English traders who 
had already settled along its banks. 

Intimation of this movement was received by Johnson 
early in April. A party of the Six Nations hunting in the 
early part of that month near the rapids of the St. Law- 
rence, had descried a large company of French and Indians, 
on their way to Ontario. Two of their swiftest of foot 
were immediately dispatched with the intelligence to their 
council fire at Onondaga. Thence the news was borne to 
the colonel, who was awakened at midnight, on the nine- 
teenth of April, by terrific whoops and yells, and presented 
with a belt of wampum which was to urge the English to 
protect the Ohio and the Miami Indians. * 

The Six Nations, especially the Mohawks, straightway 
took alarm, considering the Ohio as their property, and 
any attempt therefore to erect forts upon that river, as a 
direct infringement on their rights. This conduct of the 
French was not calculated to assauge the temper of the 
Mohawks, already in an alarming state, caused by their 
having been overreached, as they alleged, in some sales 
of land to the whites. Added to this, while they wit- 
nessed the active movements of the French, they saw no 
corresponding activity on the part of the government of 
New York, either for resisting these encroachments, or 
for protecting them in their castles. In truth, there was 
cause for this feeling. The strange apathy of the parent 
government in thwarting the designs of the French, and 
the criminal neglect of the assembly to protect the fron- 



1 ColoneL Johnson to Governor Clinton, 30th April 1753. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

tiers, gave truth to the remark of King Hendrik, that ^^* 
" the council and assembly dont take care of Albany, but" — » — ' 
leave it naked and defenceless, and dont care what becomes 
of our nation, but sit in peace and quietness, while we 
are exposed to the enemy." The Indian commissioners 
at Albany never had had either the confidence or the 
affection of the Six Nations, and since the resignation of 
Colonel Johnson, they had been sadly neglected. The 
Mohaws at length became so uneasy, that, after appealing 
in vain to the commissioners at Albany, they determined to 
apply at head quarters for the redress of their grievances ; 
and accordingly Hendrik, accompanied by several of the 
Mohawk chieftains, visited Governor Clinton at New York 
during the session of the assembly. 

The reproaches of the great Mohawk chieftain against 
the council and assembly, for their indifference and cruel 
neglect of his nation, were affecting, yet bitterly severe. 
The grievances, to which they had been subjected in being 
imposed upon in the sales of their lands, were especially 
dwelt upon. Reminding them of the aid which they had 
received from him in times past, he accused them of 
having embroiled his nation with the French, and then 
refusing to protect their castles from the revenge of their 
enemy ; the hatchet, also, which had been placed in their 
hands by the government, was still there, never having 
been taken back. 1 Hitherto, he continued, you have de- 
sired that the paths should be kept open by us, but now, 
you make no effort to keep the French from closing them, 
but throw the whole burden upon us. If, therefore, you 
do not endeavor to redress our grievances, the rest of our 
brethren of the Six Nations shall know of it, and all paths 
shall be stopped. Dreading, also, the formalities of diplo- 
matic etiquette, which always was a terror to the Indians, 

6 It was always customary, at the close of hostilities, to make their Indian 
allies presents, when the hatchet was formally buried. Hendrick alludes 
here to this ceremony having been neglected. 



422 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, and recollecting the long delay in the exchange of pri- 
v— v— < soners, Hendrik, now grown desperate, could not brook 
1753. ail y delay. He therefore closed his speech with this 
caustic remark : "We beg you will not be long considering 
it. You may, perhaps, tell us, you will write to our Father 
the King, but that will be too long. We therefore desire 
you will do something immediately, or tell us at once, you 
will do nothing at all for us." 

Before Mr. Clinton replied to Hendrik, the committee, 
to whom had been entrusted the business of investigating 
the complaints of the Mohawks regarding their land sales, 
reported, through Mr. Holland, that all the lands, in the 
purchase of which the Indians alleged they had been de- 
frauded, had been patented many years before his excel- 
lency had taken the reins of government ; and that it was 
therefore impossible, by examining the grants registered 
in New York, to determine whether the persons who had 
purchased of the Indians had imposed upon them or not. 
This, Mr. Clinton explained to Hendrik in his answer- 
ing speech, but stated, that a conference would be held 
with them at Albany during the summer ; and as regarded 
the alleged land frauds, he would put their complaints 
into the hands of the Indian commissioners, who would see 
that justice was done them. The angry feelings, however, 
of Hendrik and his brother chiefs, were too deeply rooted, 
to be thus easily eradicated by the promise of a conference. 
Having but a poor idea of the justice to be obtained at 
Albany, they immediately retired in disgust, but not be- 
fore Hendrik had delivered the following philippic : 

" Brother: When we came here to relate our grievances 
about our lands, we expected to have something done for 
us, and we have told you that the covenant chain of our 
forefathers was like to be broken, and you tell us, that we 
shall be redressed at Albany ; but we know them so well, 
that we will not trust to them, for they are no people, but 
devils, so we rather desire that you will say nothing shall 
be done for us. By and by, you will expect to see the 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 423 

nations down, which you shall not see, for as soon as we chap. 

J ' XII. 

come home, we will send up a belt of wampum to our^^-' 
brethren the Five Nations, to acquaint them the covenant 1753, 
chain is broken between you and us. So you are not to 
expect to hear of me any more, and we desire to hear no 
more of you. And we shall no longer acquaint you with 
any news or affairs as we used to do." 

The alleged grievances respecting the land frauds might 
be redressed ; but these threats, in the present critical 
state of the country, and the ruinous condition of the for- 
tifications, might not so easily be ignored or despised. 
Accordingly, Mr. Clinton sent down a message to the as- 
sembly, on the ninth of June, informing that body of the 
conference which he had just held with the Mohawk chief; 
urging that immediate measures should be taken to 
calm the temper of the Indians, and to secure their alli- 
ance. This intelligence at once aroused the assembly 
from its shameful apathy, and showed them the necessity 
of immediately providing for the interests and safety of 
the colony. It forthwith voted the sum of two hundred 
pounds, in addition to the eight hundred before voted, to 
be given to the Indians to assist in burying the hatchet ; 
and, on the sixteenth, it resolved, that an humble ad- 
dress should be presented to his excellency, praying that 
he would be pleased, " in this extraordinary conjunction of 
Indian affairs, to meet the Six Nations of Indians at Albany 
this summer in person, to renew the ancient alliance with 
them, and to bury the hatchet." 

A few days afterward, Mr. Clinton sent down to the 
house copies of Hendrik's speech, with the suggestion, 
that it would be expedient to send forthwith some man of 
influence to the several castles of the confederacy, who 
should lay before it the injustice done to the Mohawk chiefs, 
and prevent the mischievous consequences which would 
arise, should the threats of Hendrik be carried into effect. 
In answer to this message, and in accordance with its re- 
solve of the sixteenth, the house, on the twentieth, prepared 



424 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, and sent in to the governor an elaborate address, in which 
s__^_, it confessed that the Indian affairs were in such a critical 
1753 - state, that, "in their opinion, no commissioner that could 
be appointed would have so much w 7 eight among the Six 
Nations as himself." It hoped, therefore, that he would not 
hesitate a moment in determining to meet the Six Nations 
at Albany during the summer ; and, at the same time, ad- 
vised, that in accordance with his suggestion, two persons 
of weight among the Indians should be dispatched with 
all possible haste to the several Indian castles, to induce 
them to meet him at Albany, there to adjust all their diffi- 
culties and complaints. 

The health of Mr. Clinton rendering it doubtful whe- 
ther he should be able to meet the Indians during the 
summer, he proposed to authorize such persons to attend 
in his place, as both branches of his legislature should 
agree in appointing. This suggestion was immediately 
acted upon by the assembly ; and the man that was selected 
to be the sole distributor of the presents, and the confidant 
of both houses, was Colonel Johnson I 1 Perhaps no better 
proof can be adduced of the confessed ascendancy of the 
latter over the Indians, and of his known ability, than the 
joint address signed by James De Lancey and David Jones, 
to Mr. Clinton, requesting a treaty for " appeasing the ill 
temper of the Indians," and praying that Colonel Johnson 
might be sent to Onondaga to meet the Confederacy. 2 It 
is very certain, that with the known enmity with which at 
this time he was regarded by the chief justice, and with all 
the obstacles which had been continually thrown in the way 
of his collecting his accounts, if any other person had been 
capable, Johnson would have been the last one selected. 
But at this critical juncture, private enmity was forced to 
yield to the public good ; and both branches of the legis- 
lature united in declaring, "that, in their opinion, Colonel 
Johnson was the most proper person to be appointed to do 

1 Manuscript couucil minutes. 

2 De Lancey and David Jones were at this time the speakers, respectively, 
of the council and the assembly. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

this service ; and they humbly hoped his excellency would chap. 
commissionate him. > ^-. 

Agreeably to this request, Colonel Johnson at once set 1753 - 
out on his mission. His journey was somewhat hastened 
by intelligence, received prior to his departure, that a 
party of the Six Nations, in violation of their treaty, had 
recently returned, from the country of the Catawbas, 
bringing with them scalps and prisoners; and as serious 
trouble was likely to result from this, unless such conduct 
was speedily stopped, no time was to be lost. On his arri- 
val at Mount Johnson, both of the Mohawk castles were 
summoned to meet him at his house the twenty-sixth of 
July. The Indians came with alacrity, delighted, as they 
expressed it, that he was again " raised up," and was once 
more to be the organ of communication between their 
people and the English. "Weary of the frauds practised 
upon them, since he had resigned the charge of their 
affairs, the Indians came to him as to a father anxious to 
unbosom all their griefs ; for, in the language of Hendrik 
on this occasion, " where should they resort to when any- 
thing laid heavy on their hearts, but where they had 
always found satisfaction, whatever might trouble them." 
Contrary to the usage of the Indians, when called to a 
council, Hendrik opened the conference by speaking first. 
If anyone, other than Johnson, he said, had sent for them, 
they would not have "moved a foot;" but now they 
would cheerfully listen to what he had to say. 

The answer of Johnson was kind, yet full of stern 
reproof for their past behavior. The unreasonableness of 
their demands and threats which they had so freely 
expressed in New York, was dwelt upon at length. The 
governor, he said, was grieved to think that they whom 
he had always supposed were such sincere friends, should 
with such loud and foul w r ords, soil that chain, which had 
been made by their wise forefathers, and which had 
remained until now bright and unsullied ; the expectation 
of Governor Clinton, of soon leaving the province, 

54 



426 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, together with his ill health, prevented him from meeting 
< — , — i them at this time, but his successor would have time to 
1/53 - hear their complaints and to quiet their minds ; hence, he 
was empowered to go to Onondaga, and treat with the Six 
Nations in the governor's name, and he now invited them 
all to join with him in such steps as would insure a harmo- 
nious meeting. The Indians, in their reply on the fol- 
lowing day, said they had heard his remarks with 
"willing ears," which would never be effaced from the 
minds of the youngest person present. Although sensibly 
affected by the neglect with which they had been treated, 
yet they would once more, on his solicitation, bury their 
animosities in a pool so deep as never to be thought of 
again." Thus, through the singular ascendancy of John- 
son, the Mohawks, lately so fierce and implacable, once 
more became docile and good humored. 

In September, the colonel set out for the great council 
fire of the Six Nations, which was ever kept burning, and 
arrived there on the eighth of the same month. About a 
mile from the town he was met by the sachems, and 
escorted, with all the forms of Indian ceremonial, to the 
shore of the lake, where he encamped. The chiefs hav- 
ing signified their readiness to receive him that same day 
he went directly to the council. As soon as he was seated, 
Red Head, the chief sachem of the Onondagas, rose and 
presented him with a belt of wampum, requesting him to 
"wipe away his tears, and speak freely." 1 

1 " The original wampum of the Iroquois, in which the laws of the league 
were recorded, was made of spiral fresh-water shells, ote-k6-a, which were 
strung on deer skin strings, or sinew, and the strands braided into belts, 
or simply united into strings. Hubbard thus speaks of wampum in gene- 
ral : " It is of two sorts, white and purple. The white is worked out of the 
inside of the great conch into the form of a bead, and perforated to 
string on leather. The purple is worked out of the inside of the muscle 
shell. They are woven broad as one's hand, and about two feet long. 
These they call belts, and give and receive at their treaties as the seals of 
their friendship." It was first known in New England as wampumpeag, 
and the art of making it was obtained from the Dutch, according to Hutch- 
inson, about 1627." — Morgan's League ofthe Iroquois. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

Having by the distribution of a few presents disposed chap. 
the Indians to a favorable hearing, the colonel announced w v _/ 
the expected arrival of a new governor, who would meet 1 ' 53 - 
them in a short time with presents, and hear all of their 
grievances. Until then, he charged them to live in har- 
mony with their English brethren. In reference to the 
incursions upon the Southern Indians, he was exceedingly 
grieved to learn that some of their people had returned 
with scalps and prisoners from the Catawbas, with whom, 
in his presence, they had made such a solemn treaty ; and 
that unless this affair was speedily settled, it would remain 
an indellible stain upon the character and faith of their 
nation. He therefore urged them to immediately return 
the prisoners, and commit no farther hostilities. In 
regard to the French — " are you willing," said he, "that 
they should dispossess you o£ the rich lands and fair fields 
along the Ohio, your ancestral inheritance ! No, rather 
quench the fire already lighted by them, at Swegachey, 1 
and call in your warriors that have wandered off, that 
united, you may crush them ! The paths, likewise, to this 
place, are almost choked with weeds, and the fire that once 
burned so brightly, nearly extinguished." He was there- 
fore charged by the governor, to rekindle the fire with 
such wood, as should never go out. "I now," he con- 
tinued, " renew the fire, sweep and clean all your rooms 
with a new white wing, and leave it hanging near the fire 
place, that you may use it for cleaning all the dust and 
dirt, which may have been brought in by strangers, no 
friends to you or us." By such appeals, was there a direct 
road opened to the hearts of these metaphor-loving people. 

Two days afterwards, Red Head thanked him for giving 
the Six Nations notice of the expected arrival of the new 
governor ; adding that whenever he chose to convene 
them they would cheerfully attend. In the meantime, 
brother Warohiyatighey might rest assured that the ancient 
friendship for the English was undiminished. It was not 

1 La Presentation, now Ogdensburgh. 



428 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, with their consent, he continued, that the French had 

XII. 

Wy—/ occupied the Ohio, but really they did not know what the 
1753. English and French together intended; "for they were 
already so hemmed in by both, that hardly a hunting place 
was left ; so that even if they should find a bear in a tree, 
there would immediately appear an owner of the land, to 
challenge the property." Regarding the Catawbas, their 
answer was less satisfactory. They deplored, it is true, the 
violation of the treaty, but declined giving a definite 
answer upon this point, until the meeting with the new 
governor. 

This conference, considering the previously excited state 
of the Indians, was considered by the colonel as quite 
successful ; a full account of which was enclosed by him 
in a letter to Mr. Clinton upon his return home on the 
twenty-fourth. 1 

Mr. Clinton was at his country seat at Flushing, Long 
Island, when his successor, Sir Danvers Osborne, arrived. 2 
This was on Sunday, the seventh of October. The coun- 
cil, mayor, corporation, and the chief citizens, met the new 
governor on his arrival, and escorted him to the council 
chamber. The following day, Mr. Clinton called upon 
him, and they both dined with the members of the council. 
On Wednesday morning, Mr. Clinton administered to him 

*For this letter, as well as for a full and detailed account of this meet- 
ing at Onondaga, the reader is referred to the Documentary History of New 
York, ii, 630. 

It will be noticed that nothing was said to the Indians at this time 
in relation to "burying the hatchet." Shortly before the conference, 
Colonel Johnson wrote to Mr. Clinton that in the present state of hostili- 
ties with the French, he did not think it advisable to take the hatchet out 
of their hands ; and by the advice of the council, to whom his letter was 
referred, Mr. Clinton countermanded his instruction to Johnson in this 
particular. — Council minutes. 

2 Mr. Clinton, whose health had been much impaired by the severity of 
the American winters, had often requested to be recalled, and at one time 
had disposed of all his furniture preparatory to that step. It was not, how- 
ever, until this year that the crown saw fit to grant the required permission 
and appoint a successor. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

the oath of office and delivered to him the seals ; at the chap. 

xii. 

same time delivering to James De Lancey his commission ■ — „ — ' 
as lieutenant governor. As soon as these forms were ' ' 
finished, Governor Osborne, attended by the council and 
Mr. Clinton, set out for the town hall, where the new com- 
mission was usually read to the people. Scarcely, however, 
had the procession advanced a few steps, when the rabble, 
incited, it is said, by the De Lancey faction, insulted Mr. 
Clinton so grossly, as to compel him to leave the party, and 
retire into the fort. In the evening cannon were fired, bon 
fires lighted, fireworks displayed, and the whole city was 
given up to a delirium of joy. Amid all these rejoicings, 
the new governor sat in his room gloomy and sad, and 
seemingly averse to conversation retired early. On Thurs- 
day morning he informed the council that his strict orders 
were to insist upon an indefinite support for the govern- 
ment, and desired to have the opinion of the board upon 
the probabilities of its success. l It was universally agreed 
by the members present, that the assembly never would 
submit to this demand, and that a permanent support could 
not be enforced. Turning to Mr. Smith, who had hitherto 
remained silent, he requested his opinion, which being to 
the same effect as that just expressed, Mr. Osborne sighed, 
and leaning against the window with his face partially con- 
cealed exclaimed, in great mental distress, "Then what am 
I sent here for!" 2 That same evening he was so unwell 
that a physician was summoned, with whom he conversed 
for a little time, and then retired to his chamber, where he 
spent most of the night in arranging his private affairs. 
In the morning he was found suspended from the top of 
the garden fence, dead. 3 

Sir Danvers Osborne had lost a wife to whom he was 
passionately attached, shortly before coming to New York. 

1 Council minutes. 

-' Smith. 

3 Manuscript affidavits of Philip Crosby and John Milligan before the 
council. Sworn to, Oct. 12, 1753, and now preserved in the secretary of 
state's office, Albany, N. Y. 



430 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. This acting upon a mind morbidly sensitive, had thrown 
^— v — : him into a melancholy bordering upon insanity. He came 
17 ° 3, to the government, charged with instructions much more 
stringent in their tone than those given to his predecessor ; 
and knowing the difficulty which Mr. Clinton experienced 
durins; his administration, he saw before him onlv a sue- 
cession of storms and tempests. Almost the first words of 
the city corporation in their address to him in the town hall 
— "that they would not brook any infringement of their 
liberties civil and religious," — convinced Mr. Osborne of 
the utter impossibility of the task assigned him. All these 
causes working upon a morbid state of mind, — wishing to 
carry out his instructions on the one hand, yet seeing its 
utter hopelessness on the other, — produced a temporary 
insanity, in which state he committed the rash act. Party 
rage, it is true, threw out suspicions of unfair play ; and 
the council even thought it worth while to appoint a com- 
mittee to investigate more fully the circumstances of his 
death ; but these suspicions, it was made clearly evident, 
were entirely without foundation. } 

Immediately on the death of Governor Osborne, Mr. 
De Lancey, by virtue of his commission as lieutenant 
governor, assumed the reins of government. The role 
which he was now to play, though difficult, was acted with 
his usual shrewdness and address. He had now to con- 
vince the ministry that he was zealous in the promotion of 
the interests of the crown ; while at the same time, if he 
would retain his own popularity, he must show the assem- 
bly that he was true to his former principles, and by no 
means required a compliance with the instructions, which, 
on the part of his majesty, he should present to them. Of 
the instructions given by the crown to Osborne, which were 
now to be submitted by his successor, the thirty-ninth 
article was the most obnoxious. The impression was 
prevalent that the increasing power of Mr. De Lancey, and 
the ferment raised against Mr. Clinton's administration, 

1 Council minutes. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, LA11T. 431 

was the occasion of the insertion of this article; providing chap. 
as it did, for an indefinite support, and a competent salary v-^—, 
to all the civil officers of the colony. l 1/53 

The lieutenant governor in his opening message to the 
assembly, the last day of October, with consummate 
tact, said: "You will perceive by the thirty-ninth article 
of his majesty's instructions to Sir Danvers Osborne, (copies 
of which I shall herewith deliver you) how highly his 
majesty is displeased at the neglect of and contempt shown 
to his royal commissions and instructions, by your passing 
laws of so extraordinary a nature, and by such your unwar- 
rantable proceedings, particularly set forth in this instruc- 
tion ; hence also his majesty's royal pleasure as to these 
matters will appear, and what he expects from you. On 
this head, I must observe to you, that by our excellent con- 
stitution the executive power is lodged in the crown ; that 
all government is founded on a confidence that every person 
will discharge the duties of his station ; and if there shall 
be any abuse of power that the legal and regular course is 
to make application to his majesty, who, having a frater- 
nal tenderness to all his subjects, is always ready to hear 
and redress their grievances." To the assembly, in par- 
ticular, he adds : "I must earnestly press it upon you, that 
in preparing your bill for the support of government and 
other public services, you pay a due regard to his majesty's 
pleasure signified in his instructions ; and frame them in 
such a manner, as, when laid before me for my assent, I 
may give it consistent with my duty to his majesty." 
Could anything be more satisfactory to the ministry in 
appearance than this message ? "As his majesty's repre- 
sentative, he was obliged to urge their compliance with 
seeming sincerity and warmth ; but as James De Lancey, 
their old friend and best adviser, it was his real sentiment, 

'Letter to a nobleman. Mass. Hist. Col., vol. 7, II series, p. 81. 

The members comprising the executive council at this time, were Messrs. 
Colden, Alexander, Kennedy, De Lancey, Clarke, jun., Murray, Holland, 
Johnson, Chambers, and Smith. 



1753. 



432 LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

C xii P ' ^ nat never ou ght they to submit. \ The answer of the 
assembly was equally studied ; — " On reading the thirty- 
ninth article of his majesty's instructions to Sir Danvers 
Osborne, your honor's immediate predecessor, we are 
extremely surprised to find that the public transactions of 
this colony have been so maliciously represented to our 
most gracious sovereign. "We can, sir, with truth and 
justice affirm, that his majesty has not in his dominions, a 
people more firmly, and that from principles of real affec- 
tion, devoted to his person, family and government, than 
the inhabitants of this colony. And we are greatly at a 
loss to discover in what instances the peace and tranquility 
of the colony have been disturbed, or wherein order and 
government have been subverted. If the course of justice 
has been obstructed, or in any case perverted, it has been 
by the direction or through the means of Mr. Clinton, late 
governor of this province, who sent peremptory orders to 
the judges, clerk, and sheriff of Dutchess county, to stay pro- 
cess, and stop the proceedings in several cases of private 
property depending in that court, and also did in other 
counties commissionate judges and justices of known ill 
character and extreme ignorance ; and others were so 
shamefully ignorant and illiterate, as to be unable to write 
their own names, from whence we greatly fear that justice 
has in many cases been partially, or very unduly admin- 
istered." 2 By such false charges did the assembly attempt 
to injure Mr. Clinton, for the sake of gratifying its per- 
sonal enmity. False they undoubtedly were. The riots 
commenced in Dutchess county, to which allusion is here 
made, were brought against their captains by those who 
had deserted the expedition to Canada in 1746 ; and Mr. 
Clinton had confessed at the time to the house, that his 
letters to the justices had been written ignorantly and in 
haste, and that if any one was injured he would pay out 
of his own purse his damages. As to the charge of 

1 Letter to a nobleman. 

2 Council minutes. 



LIFE OP SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 433 

appointing ignorant men, he was not the only governor chap. 
who had erred in a similar manner ; and indeed Mr. De <—^—> 
Lancey himself was not free from the same charge. ' 1753 - 

The change in the administration, was, however, pro- 
ductive of one good result — that of infusing into the 
assembly a desire to take active measures for the defence 
of the province. All the wishes of the governor on this 
point — as indeed on every other — were promptly responded 
to. On his sending down to them a letter from the earl of 
Holdeness, urging that measures should be immediately 
taken to resist the incursion of the French, it was deter- 
mined to assist the neighboring colonies, some of whom 
had written for aid, and to meet force by force. Eight hun- 
dred pounds were voted for Indian presents, and one hun- 
dred and fifty pounds for his voyage to Albany. Fifteen 
hundred and fifty pounds were voted for his salary, — a much 
larger sum than ever before given to any lieutenant 
governor ; and also the arrearages of his pay as chief jus- 
tice up to the twelfth of October. 2 Before the close of 
the session, an elaborate complaint to the crown, and a 
representation to the board of trade against Mr. Clinton 
were drawn up, and forwarded through Mr. De Lancey and 
Mr. Charles to the home government. The assembly was 
then prorogued to the first Tuesday of the following 
March, — the lieutenant governor "tenderly remarking 
before they parted, that they " must be sensible they had not 
acted with his majesty's royal instructions." 3 

Upon the death of Sir Danvers Osborne, Mr. Clinton 
retired to the west end of Long Island, whence he embarked 
shortly afterward for England. Before he sailed, Mr. De 
Lancey, anxious to secure his influence in England, 
endeavored to effect a reconciliation, and doubtless would 
have succeeded, had not Mrs. Clinton, by her influence, 

1 Letter to a nobleman. 
'Council minutes. 
3 Smith. 

55 



434 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, thwarted his designs. x On his return home, Mr. Clinton 

xii. & . 

v_ ¥ ^_> received the governorship of Greenwich hospital, a sine- 

1753. cur e 5 2 and on the death of Admiral Stewart in the month 
of March, 1757, became admiral of the fleet. " Having 
thus obtained the highest rank in the service, with unsullied 
reputation, and the justly acquired character of meriting, 
on all occasions, the good will of his countrymen, he died 
on the tenth of July, 1761, in the seventy-fifth year of his 
age." 3 

The character of Mr. Clinton has not, I think, been fairly 
drawn. Those, upon whose opinions his character rests, 
were persons living at the same day, and who, influenced 
by party strife, were not in a position to judge impartially. 
He was an uncouth and unlettered admiral, who had been, 
through the Newcastle interest, appointed to the chair of 
governor. He was evidently unsuited to his position ; and 
his former profession, in which he had always been accus- 
tomed to command, illy fitted him to brave the rebuffs and 
the opposition of party faction. His manner, too, was 
not such as to win friends. Having to depend entirely 
upon the advice of those around him, he was often the 
dupe of those better versed in the arts of diplomacy than 
himself. But I look in vain for that love of ease, to the 
neglect of his official duties, of which he is accused by 
Mr. Smith. On the contrary, although he relied too much 
on the advice of others for his own good, yet it was caused 
more by a consciousness of a lack of education, than by a 
desire to shirk action. In the care of the Indians he was 
indefatigable, as appears by his large correspondence with 
Colonel Johnson and the officers of the different frontier 
posts. He labored incessantly with his assembly to make 
them realize the condition of the colony, and had they met 
his views half way, or even manifested a tythe of his energy, 



1 Letter to a nobleman. 

2 The administration of Mr. Clinton, as governor of the colony, occupied 
ten years, he having arrived as governor in September 1743. 

3 Biographia Navalis, by John Charnock, London, 1790. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 435 

the province of New York would not have presented such chap. 
an inviting field for the encroachments of the French, •— y_/ 
He is accused of amassing by unfair means a large fortune 1753, 
while governor, yet he freely advanced out of .his private 
purse large sums for the exigencies of the Indian affairs, 
and many times saved the Six Nations from defection, and 
the province from the horrors of a predatory warfare, when 
it was impossible to rouse the assembly to a sense of danger. 
Indeed, I think it may safely be said, that had it not been 
for the untiring efforts of Mr. Clinton and Colonel John- 
son, the Six Nations would have been completely won over 
by the French, and the fire-brand and tomahawk carried 
down to the very gates of New York. 









CHAPTER XIII. 

1T53— 1754. 

chap- The period is now reached, when the active public life 
v—yw of Colonel Johnson begins. In order to correctly appre- 
1753 - ciate his future career, it is necessary to understand fully 
the complications which had again arisen between the 
English and the French ; and which led to a renewal of 
hostilities between those two nations, finally culminating 
in the war, which shook both hemispheres to their very 
centres. 

The treaty of Aix La Chapelle, as remarked in the last 
chapter, was in its effect only a truce. The boundaries 
between the lands belonging to the crowns of England 
and France, were left as indefinite after, as before the 
treaty ; and consequently, those lands, to the possession of 
which both claimed a right, were still in dispute. The 
valley of the Ohio, with its noble forests and alluvial 
meadows, presented to the eyes of both governments a 
tempting prize, which each was unwilling to relinquish. 
The grounds on which France founded her right to the 
ownership of this fair domain, were discovery and occu- 
pancy. She insisted that La Salle, Father Marquette and 
others had sailed down the Mississippi, and that settle- 
ments had been made in the vicinity of Lake Michigan 
and on the Wabash, long before it had been travelled by 
any Englishman. On this point, however, the statements 
of the early French writers are very confused, and the 
fact itself is difficult to substantiate. The claims of Eng- 
land were infinitely broader. She had from the very first 
claimed from the Atlantic to the Pacific, on the ground 
that the discovery and possession of the sea board, was a 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BAKT. 437 

discovery of the whole country lying between the two chap. 
oceans. So far, indeed, as actual discovery was an argu- w,, — - 
ment, she insisted upon it very little. It is true, that in 1753- 
1742, John Howard, crossing the mountains, launched a 
canoe of Buffalo hide, and sailed down the Ohio, reaching 
the Mississippi, only to be captured by the French. Con- 
rad Weiser, the Pennsylvania interpreter, had also in 1748 
taken a trip to Logstown, an Indian canton on the Ohio, 
and distributed presents to the Indians. This, however, 
could give the English no claim, as neither of those per- 
sons made any settlements ; and besides, the entire valley 
through which the former sailed, had been trapped and 
traversed long before by the French hunters and traders. 
But the chief argument on which the English based their 
claim to the ownership of the lands west of the Allegha- 
nies was, that the Ohio valley belonged to the Six Nations, 
and that when they in 1684, at Albany, placed all their 
lands under the protection of England, this valley was also 
included. Aside from this right to protect their lands, 
which — under the supposition that the Six Nations were 
correct in their claim to the lands in question — was unde- 
niable, the English declared that many of the western 
lands were actually purchased by them from the Indians at 
the treaty held in Lancaster in 1744. A few deeds of 
land were at that time unquestionably given ; and among 
them one in which was recognized the right of the king 
"to all lands that are or by his majesty's appointment 
shall be within the colony of Virginia." Under this deed 
— although it was repudiated by the Indians at Logstown, 
in 1752 — the English relied in all their subsequent proceed- 
ings. After this, settlements were farther extended west- 
ward, as the desire of the whites to enlarge their trade 
with the Indians increased, until in 1748 several individu- 
als, among whom were Augustine and Laurence, brothers 
of George Washington, formed an association under the 
name of the Ohio Company ; and petitioned the crown 
for a grant of six hundred thousand acres of land west of 



438 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

C xm P ' t]ie Alle g 1:ian i es - The object of this enterprise was to own 
w^ lands, upon which to establish trading houses, and im- 
1753. p 0rt the f urg obtained from the Indians, receiving in 
return European goods. 1 These lands were to be princi- 
pally located upon the south side of the Ohio, and to 
include all the region that was embraced between the 
Monongahela and the Kanawha rivers ; the company 
reserving to itself the privilege of settling a portion upon 
the north side, should it be deemed advisable. As no 
permament settlement, however, could be made by the 
company with any hope of success without some defi- 
nite arrangement with the Indians, the government of 
Virginia was petitioned to invite them to a treaty, at which 
a better title to the lands to be settled, could be obtained. 
As a preliminary step to this measure, Christopher Gist was 
sent to explore the country, and report his observations to 
the board. Pursuing his instructions, Mr. Gist, in the 
winter of 1751, went down the south bank of the river as 
far as the Kanawha, in the vicinity of which, he spent 
several months, taking accurate observations of the quality 
of the land, and its suitableness for the object proposed. 2 
Finding, however, that no farther progress could be made 
until the Indians — who influenced by the French traders 
now regarded with extreme suspicion the designs of the 
English — had been won over, commissioners were sent in 
May 1752, to Logstown to treat with the Mingoes, Shaw- 
nees and Ohio Indians. On the Lancaster treaty being 
produced, and the western lands under that treaty claimed, 
the chiefs indignantly replied that " they had not heard of 
any sale west of the warriors' road, which ran at the foot 
of the Alleghany ridge." While they acknowledged the 
treaty of Lancaster, and the authority of the Six Nations, 
they denied that it gave the English any claim to land 
west of the Allegbanies ; but, added the half king, " as the 
French have already struck our friends, the Miamis, we 

1 Sparks's Washington, ii, 478. 
'Idem. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

therefore desire that our brothers of Virginia will build a chap. 

xm. 
strong house at the fork of the Monongahela." Not satis- ^—^ 

fied, however, with this, the commissioners prevailed upon 1753 - 
Captain Montour to use his influence with the Indians, 
to eifect a sale of the lands in question. 1 The influence 
of the half breed was successful ; and upon the thirteenth 
of June a deed, signed by all the chiefs, was given, "con- 
firming the Lancaster treaty in its full effect" and guaranty- 
ing that the settlements south-east of the Ohio should not 
by them be molested. 2 

The French, meanwhile, were not indifferent to the 
designs of the English. It was evident to them, that if the 
latter were allowed to establish settlements and trading 
posts along the Ohio, it would interfere grievously with 
their own plans for its possession. The governors of Canada 
— generally military men* — had watched their rivals with 
jealous eyes ; and for several years had selected and fortified 
such positions as would best command an ascendency over 
the Indians, and secure a rendezvous from which to make 
incursions upon the northern frontiers. 3 The spiritual arm 
was also called to their aid, and missionary stations, " deep 
in the wilderness," quietly went on with the work of con- 
version. As soon therefore as La Jonquiere, the Canadian 
governor, heard of the formation of the Ohio company, 
deeming it an intrusion into " the dominions of his most 
Christian majesty," he wrote to the governors of New York 
and Pennsylvania, informing them of the encroachments 
of the English traders upon French territory, and threaten- 

1 Probably Henry Mintun, the Indian Interpreter — son of Catherine Mon- 
tour — to whom allusion has been made in a former chapter. 

2 In this discussion of the French and English claims to the Ohio valley, 
I have freely consulted a very able paper in the North American Review for 
July 1839, — entitled, "A review of travels through the interior parts 
of North America, in the years 17G6, 1767, and 1708." It has been stated 
that a few Iroquois chiefs were present at the Logstown treaty. This how- 
ever, is denied by Colonel Johnson in a letter to Governor Clinton. Doc. 

ins. at. r., ii, 624. 

3 Marshall. 



440 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, ing that unless they immediately withdrew he should seize 
v^^^them "wherever found." 1 No notice being taken of this 
1753. threat, La Jonquiere proved its sincerity by seizing, in the 
summer of 1752, some English traders among the Taigh- 
wees, and confining them for a time at Presque Isle on Lake 
Erie, where a strong fort at that time was erecting. Sim- 
ultaneously, by a chain of posts along the French creek 
and Alleghany river, a communication was opened from 
Presque Isle to the Ohio, which was kept clear by detach- 
ments of troops stationed at convenient distances ; — twelve 
hundred men being sent at one time, as was mentioned in 
the last chapter, for this purpose. 

The Ohio company, justly considering these proceedings 
as a direct intrusion upon the lands which, as part of Vir- 
ginia, had been granted it by the crown, complained 
bitterly of this grievance, and called upon Robert Din- 
widdie, the lieutenant governor of that province, to 
demand that these aggressions should be stopped. This 
gentleman having laid the matter before his assembly, that 
body resolved that a messenger should be sent to Le Gardeur 
St. Pierre, commander of the Erench troops then stationed 
in the west, to remonstrate with him against these encroach- 
ments. 

The messenger to whom was entrusted this delicate 
mission, was George Washington. His coolness, knowledge 
of woodcraft, and familiarity with hardship, acquired in 
his profession of surveyor, eminently qualified him for the 
undertaking. Late in October, 1753, he set out from Wil- 
liamsburgh, and arrived at Wells creek 2 in fourteen days. 
Here being joined by an Indian and a French interpreter, 
the young envoy, with Gist as a guide, hastened forward. 
Before he would reach his destination, four hundred 
miles of a trackless wilderness was to be traversed, full of 
savage men and savage beasts, and deep with the early 
snows of winter. Yet in the face of sleet, and rain, and 



1 Marshall. La Jonquiere to Clinton, Col Hist. N. Y. 

2 Cumberland. 





' 



# // <£#*/ i t 



s^ 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 441 

snow — through tangled underbrush and across icy preci- chap. 
pices — he pushed on, and upon the eleventh of December w^— - 
reached fort La Boeuf, * at the head of the western branch l753, 
of French creek, the headquarters of the French command- 
ant. St. Pierre received him with great courtesy; and 
after remaining three or four days, during which he em- 
ployed himself in taking accurate observations of the 
strength and position of the fort, he set out on his return, 
bearing with him a sealed letter to Dinwiddie from the 
French commandant 2 

The answer of St. Pierre, — which was to the effect that 
he had taken possession of the Ohio under the authority 
of his general, the governor of Canada, to whom he would 
refer the matter and abide by his decision, — convinced the 
assembly of Virginia that the Ohio would not be given up 
without a severe struggle. Acting with these views, 
Governor Dinwiddie wrote to the board of trade informing 
it that a descent of the Ohio was meditated early in the 
spring by some fifteen hundred French and Indians, having 
for its design the entire occupation of the valley of that 
river. At the same time he sent expresses to the govern- 
ors of New York and Pennsylvania for aid, and proceeded, 
at the suggestion of his council, to raise two companies 
of troops — one of which was to be given to Washington, 
while a backwoodsman, by the name of Trent, was to raise 
the other and proceed at once to the frontier, to aid in 
completing a fort, already begun by the Ohio company at 
the confluence of the Alleghany and the Monongahela. 

Having thus briefly sketched the progress of events jn 
the Ohio valley up to the opening of this year — 1754, I 
now return to affairs in the province of New York. 

The general assembly met on the ninth of April. In his 
opening message, Mr. De Lancey informed the legislature 
of the recent encroachments of the French upon the terri- 

* Waterford. 

2 For a full account of this jpurney, see Washington's journal on this 
occasion in Sparks's Washington, vol. ii, Append}?. 

56 



442 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOIINSON, BART. 

chap, toiy of his majesty, and of their preparations for its secure 
v-^— ' occupancy by the erection of a chain of forts from Lake 
1754. J] r i e to the Ohio. In connection with this, the determina- 
tion of Virginia to resist these aggressions, and her request 
for aid from the colony of New York was alluded to — as 
was also the defenceless condition of their own northern 
frontier, and the urgent necessity for the erection of more 
forts for its protection. The importance of the trading- 
post at Oswego, moreover, was such as to need no argument 
to induce them to vote a sum sufficient for its thorough repair, 
for, situated on the direct route of the French to the Ohio, 
it was liable at any time to be attacked. It was his hope, 
therefore, in view of the expectations which his majesty 
had expressed in the earl of Holdernesse's letter, that ample 
means would be granted not only for transporting two of 
the independent companies to Virginia, treating with the 
Six Nations, and fortifying the northern frontier, but also 
for their share of any expense that might be incurred by the 
colonies for the public welfare. The assembly, in their 
answer on the twelfth, admitted that the several matters 
recommended by his excellency were certainly of the 
utmost importance "to all his majesty's colonies upon the 
continent, and ought to be esteemed a public concern." 
In view likewise of the active operations of the French, 
and their efforts to secure all the Indian nations in their 
interest, Virginia, they thought, was deserving of all praise 
for her vigorous action. So far all was well ; but with a 
niggardly spirit, rendered the more glaring by their seeming 
appreciation of the critical state of affairs, regretted, in 
the very same paragraph, that the paucity of the colony 
would prevent them affording all that assistance to 
their sister colony that they could wish. The reason of 
this inability, they said, was the large debts that the colony 
had already incurred for its own protection, — especially the 
great expense to which it had been subjected in building 
the forts at Albany, Schenectady, Fort Hunter and Oswego. 
Moreover, all that the colony could raise would be hardly 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 443 

sufficient for the defence of its own frontiers, menaced as chap. 

XIII. 

much by the Trench settlement at Crown Point, aswerew v _/ 
the southern colonies by the forts along the Ohio * They, 1754, 
however, voted one thousand pounds for the aid of Vir- 
ginia, four hundred and fifty-six pounds for doubling the 
garrison at Oswego, and eleven hundred and fifty-six pounds 
for Indian presents, and the expense of the coming treaty. 
They also agreed to pay the charges incident to repairing 
Oswego, and bear their share in erecting forts along the 
frontier for mutual protection. 2 

The excuse of the assembly for not doing more in aid of 
its sister colony, had it come from a body of men that had 
uniformly proved its patriotism by being ever alive to the 
interests of the colony, would have been amply sufficient j 
but emanating, as it did, from an assembly which had always 
manifested the greatest indifference to the welfare of the 
province, and which had left the settlers upon the frontier 
exposed to all the horrors of a merciless predatory warfare, 
its excuse was little better than a miserable shift. The 
trading house at Oswego had been left for two years past 
with a miserable roof of bark, although its condition had 
been frequently called to their attention, 3 and the frontier 
fortifications were not in a much better condition. The 
fort at Saratoga had been burned and abandoned because 
they had refused to keep it in a proper state of defence ; 
the friendship of the Six Nations had been spurned, and 
Colonel Johnson quarreled with, for bringing these matters 
to their attention, — so that this sudden anxiety for the 
security and welfare of the colony, was simply ridiculous. 
The argument, advanced by the assembly — that the king 
should afford the means for the protection of his own 
dependencies was true, so far as the rights of the crown 
were involved in the defence of the colonies ; but the pro- 
tection of the firesides of the colonists themselves, when 

[ -<r 

1 Journals of the assembly. 

2 Idem. See also Smith. 

3 Manuscript council minutes. 



444 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOIINSON, BART. 

chap, only their individual interests were at stake, certainly 
^ta, should not have been a burden upon the home government. 
1754. ]yf r . D e Lancey, deeming the answer of the assembly 
unsatisfactory, reminded it in a special message on the 
nineteenth, of the resolution passed at its fall session "to 
repel force by force." Quoting an extract from a letter 
lately received from the board of trade — to the effect that 
high expectations had been raised in the mind of his 
majesty by that resolution, — he begged that it would act 
promptly upon this occasion, and send to Virginia the 
assistance which she so earnestly requested. To this the 
house replied by referring him to the resolution in ques- 
tion — " that they would assist any of his majesty's colonies 
to repel force by force in case they were invaded,'" and evasively 
resolved that there had as yet been no invasion, as the fort 
which had been built by the French was at French creek, 
and " at a considerable distance from the river Ohio," the 
cause of the dispute. The executive at once answered this 
quibble by stating that the forts in question had been 
erected in the countiy of the Erics — a nation entirely anni- 
hilated by the Six Nations — and that as by the treaty of 
Utretcht, the Six Nations were the subjects of Great Brit- 
ain, the building of the forts " was evidently an invasion 
of his majesty's territories, though perhaps, not so clearly 
within the limits of any colony." The assembly, however, 
was not to be moved, and besides the bill for raising the 
supplies had already been sent up to the council for the 
action of that body. This bill, which provided that the 
different sums should be issued by the treasurer on the 
receipts of the persons named therein, and not by the war- 
rant from the governor, nor with the " consent of his 
majesty's council," was deemed by the council not to be 
in accordance with the " commission and instructions," and 
was therefore sent back to the house for revision. This 
the latter refused to do, alleging that the bill was according 
" to a method long pursued, settled with, and solemnly 
agreed to, by the late Governor Clinton ;" but in answer 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 445 

to another message from the executive, counselling chap. 
unanimity and dispatch, it agreed to frame a bill which > — ^— * 
should not be obnoxious to the above objections. Before, 1 ' 54 - 
however, the bill was reconsidered, it proceeded to vote 
the supplies which it was to contain, but made no allusion 
to the one thousand pounds lately voted to Virginia. This 
omission was pointed out to their notice by Mr. De Lau- 
cey in a special message on the fourth of May ; and the 
assembly were specially urged not to omit the sum allowed 
to Virginia, which, by its having been previously voted, 
would remain an indellible stain on its reputation. In its 
answer the same day the house bluntly charged the coun- 
cil with the delay, and the withdrawal of aid from Vir- 
ginia. They farther said that when they promised to frame 
a bill which should obviate all objections, they referred 
only to those provisions which were absolutely necessary 
for the security of the colony — and that they did not con- 
sider themselves chargeable with any ill faith. In conclu- 
sion they uttered a growl at the large sums of money they 
were forced to expend by so long a sitting, especially when 
they could be of no service, and requested that they might 
all be dismissed to their homes. Mr. De Lancey in his 
reply stated that he should lay a candid statement of their 
conduct before the king ; and having given his assent to 
those bills that were ready, prorogued the assembly. 

Meanwhile, Virginia was not idle. The assembly, though 
not without great unwillingness, voted ten thousand pounds 
for the defence of the province, and increased the two 
companies already formed to six. 1 In answer also to the 
solicitations of Dinwiddie, a few troops arrived from South 
Carolina, and intelligence was received at nearly the same 
time that South Carolina had voted twelve thousand pounds 
for defence, and that four hundred volunteers would soon 
be on the way to Winchester. The prospect now looked 
more cheering; and a regiment of six hundred men was 
immediately raised and placed under the command of 

1 Govei , nor Dinwiddie to Lieutenant Governor De Lancey. 



446 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Colonel Joshua Fry, "Washington being made second in 
^./command, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. The 
1754. governor, in order to stimulate the military ardor of the 
people and give energy to enlistments, issued a proclama- 
tion, offering a bounty of two hundred thousand acres of 
land on the Ohio river, to be divided among those troops 
who should enlist for the proposed expedition, free from all 
quit rents for fifteen years. 1 

All now was bustle and activity. Captain Trent, with 
forty-one men, pushed ahead to occupy the fort at the 
Monongahela. Young men, lured on by the tempting 
bounty, and seeing themselves in the future snugly 
esconced in comfortable farms, hastened to enlist. Cannon 
which had arrived from England for the fort at the fork, 
were hurried forward. All day long the farrier plied his 
forge, and at night the sparks from its huge chimney told 
of the work that was still going on within. Wagons were 
got in readiness, old firelocks mended, and swords which 
had been handed down as heir looms from father to son y 
were taken down from over the fireplace, polished, and 
made ready for service. 

As soon as the genial rays of the sun had unlocked the 
icy chains which bound the western streams, Colonel 
Washington set out from Alexandria, with two companies 
— all that had been collected. The march was slow and 
painful. The melting snows and the warm days and cold 
nights- of early spring rendered the roads nearly impassable. 
The baggage moved forward slowly from the scarcity of 
wagons in which to transport it, and the " self-willed and 
ungovernable" recruits under Washington rendered efficient 
concert of action almost impossible. Wills creek was at 
length reached upon the twentieth of April. Just before 
his entrance into this settlement, Colonel Washington was 
met by the ensign of Captain Trent's company. The 
intelligence brought by this messenger was mournful in 
the extreme. It was, that while his company were at work 

1 Sparks. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 447 

upon the fort, a body of one thousand French troops, com- chap. 
manded by Contrecceur, in three hundred and sixty bateaux, w^ — < 
had dropped down the river from Venango, and planting 1 ' 54 - 
their artillery before the fort, summoned them to surrender. 1 
Although this estimate of the French forces was greatly 
exaggerated, yet resistance was of course hopeless, and the 
garrison surrendered, being allowed to retain their arms 
and tools. The fort was forthwith occupied by Contrecoeur, 
completed and fortified with the cannon he had brought 
with him, and named in honor of the Canadian governor, 
Fort Du Quesne. 2 This was the beginning of the war. 3 
On the reception of this news "Washington halted, and 
sent back expresses to the governors of Virginia and Penn- 
sylvania, informing them of his critical situation, and 
urging them to hasten forward reinforcements. At the 
same time he called a council of war, in which, after con- 
sidering the evils that would result from the raw and undis- 
ciplined troops being left in idleness, it was determined to 
push forward at once to the confluence of the Red Stone 
creek and Monogahela, and employ the men in erecting a 
fortification at that place. While Washington, with his 
men, was preparing to cross the Youghiogeny by construct- 
ing a bridge over that river, a belt of wampum on the 
twenty-fifth of May reached him from the Half King. 
"Be on your guard," said the belt, "the French army 
intend to strike the first English whom they shall see.'' 
Another report, the same day, confirmed this warning, 
with the additional intelligence that the French were only 
eighteen miles distant. Being ignorant of their strength 
or of their movements, Washington fell back to the Great 
Meadows, threw up entrenchments, and cutting away the 
underbrush, prepared, to use his own language, " a charm- 
ing field for an encounter." Scouts, mounted upon wagon 
horses, were at the same time sent out to reconnoitre, but 
they returned without discovering any signs of the enemy. 

1 Manuscript letter : Washington to Governor Hamilton of Pennsylvania. 

2 Now Pittsburg. 
s Sparks. 



448 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. On the twenty-seventh. Gist arrived from Wills creek, and 
v^^w reported that a party of fifty French had visited that settle- 
1754. m ent the day previous, and that he had himself seen their 
trail within five miles of the Great Meadows. In the eve- 
ning of the same day, another express arrived from the 
Half King, who, with a party of his warriors was about 
six miles distant, to the effect that an armed body of the 
French were skulking in the vicinity of his camp. Wash- 
ington at once took forty men, and pushing out into the 
night, black with wind and tempest, and stumbling through 
windfalls and over sharp rocks, reached the camp of the 
Half King a little while before day. A council was imme- 
diately held, and two Indians having discovered the position 
of the enemy in a rocky ravine, it was determined at once 
to attack. Marching in single file with the troops on the 
right and the Indians on the left, they came suddenly upon 
the French, though not so quickly, but that they had time 
to seize their arms. Both parties fired simultaneously, and 
a brisk action ensued, which, lasting for a quarter of an 
hour, resulted in the complete discomfiture of the enemy, 
whose commander, M. De Jumonville, and ten of his men 
were killed, and twenty-two taken prisoners. 

Colonel Fry dying suddenly two days afterward at Pat- 
terson's creek, as he was hastening forward to unite his 
forces with the advance, the entire command devolved 
upon Colonel Washington. Fearing that so soon as the 
news of De Jumonville's defeat reached the main body of 
the French, a large force would be sent out to meet him, 
he set his men to building a stockaded fort at the Great 
Meadows, w T hich was appropriately called Fort Necessity. 
Several companies from South Carolina arriving at this 
time, serious difficulty arose between the commander of 
the South Carolina troops and Washington, in relation to 
rank, and the latter to avoid altercation, ordered his own 
men to advance with the intention of investing Fort 
Du Quesne. Scarcely, however, had he advanced thirteen 
miles, when intelligence was received through Indian run- 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

ners, that Fort Du Quesne had been largely reinforced by chap. 
troops from Canada, and that a large force of French and ■— Y —' 
Indians were on their way to avenge the death of 1<54 - 
Jumonville. On the receipt of this intelligence, "Wash- 
ington immediately fell back to Fort Necessity, and began 
a moat around the stockade. Hardly had the hastily con- 
structed works been made at all tenantable, when De Vil- 
liers, at the head of six hundred French and one hundred 
Indians, appeared in sight, and took possession of one of 
the eminences by which the fort was encompassed. A brisk 
fire of small arms was kept up by the French from behind 
trees, which was feebly returned by the men in the fort, 
owing to the rain which fell heavily having filled the 
trenches with water, and disabled many of their muskets, 
already sadly out of repair. The firing began at eleven 
o'clock in the morning, and lasted until eight in the eve- 
ning, when De Villiers, fearing his ammunition would give 
out, sounded a parley, and sent into the garrison terms of 
capitulation. These terms, being interpreted to Washing- 
ton, were accepted ; and the next morning, on the fourth 
of July, the garrison, taking with them everything but 
their artillery, marched out of the fort, with colors flying 
and drums beating. 

Thus were the French left in undisputed possession of 
the basin of the Ohio ; and the evening guns, from the 
waters of Lake Erie to the Delta of the Mississippi, saluted 
the lillies of France, which now waved proudly in the eve- 
ning breeze. 

57 



CHAPTER XIV. 

1754. 

C xiv!' While Washington was engaged in erecting his rude 
w-' little fortress at the Great Meadows, an event of far greater 
1754 * moment was occurring at Albany. This was no less than 
a congress of commissioners from seven of the colonies, 
for the purpose of treating with the Six Nations, and 
uniting upon a plan of union for resisting the common 
enemy. 

The letter from the earl of Holdernesse, advising that the 
colonies should " repel force by force," had first directed 
attention to the importance of concerted action in resisting 
French aggressions ; and the reception, in the spring of 
this year, of letters from the lords of trade to the different 
colonial governors, directing that commissioners should be 
appointed to assemble at Albany — there to devise concerted 
action against the French — hastened the carrying out of 
this project. The object of this congress had been at first, 
nothing more than to conciliate the Six Nations, and pre- 
vent them from going over to the interest of the French. 1 
Governor Shirley, however, had conceived, early in this 
year, a general union of all the colonies for mutual pro- 
tection, and had taken the opportunity presented by this 
meeting, to suggest to the different governors that the del- 
egates to the convention should be instructed by their con- 
stituents to mature a plan for a general union. 2 

The day appointed for the meeting of the commissioners 
was the fourteenth day of June, but they did not all arrive 
until the nineteenth. 3 The colonies of JSTew Hampshire, 



1 Sparks. Governor De Lancey to the lords of trade. 
i Holmes. Grahame. Shirley to Holdernesse January 7, 1754. 
3 The commissioners from the several colonies were James De Lancey, 
Joseph Murray, William Johnson, John Chambers and William Smith — 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 451 

Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, uhap. 

. . xiv. 

Maryland and Pennsylvania, were all represented, making w^—. 

the whole number of delegates present twenty-five. Early 1754 - 
in March, the governor of Virginia had written Mr. De 
Lancey that he was too much engaged in the military pre- 
parations necessary to repel encroachments along his own 
frontier, 1 to be present at this time ; and the Carolinas were 
also too much occupied in treating with their own south- 
ern tribes, to give the treaty at Albany their attention. 
The sachems of the Six Nations, were still more backward, 
not making their appearance till the latter part of the 
month. The Mohawks were the last to arrive, and, indeed, 
the entire number of Indians present during the whole 
of the treaty did not exceed one hundred and fifty. 
There were those who did not scruple to attribute their 
delay to the influence of Johnson, who, they said, wishing 
to magnify his influence over the Indians, purposely held 
them back ; and writers, who should have been better 
informed, have not failed to give countenance to this 
report. 2 The truth is, that the Indian commissioners felt 
piqued at the contrast presented between the reluctance 
shown by the Indians in coming to this council, and the 
alacrity with which they had attended the one held in 
1748, when Johnson had the charge of their affairs, and 
prompted by jealousy, threw out these insinuations, as 
false as they were malicious. Hendrik explained the 
delay, so far as the Mohawks were concerned, by stating 
that the speech of Colonel Johnson at the Onondaga cas- 
tle the preceding summer, had been attributed by the Six 

New York. Samuel Welles, John Chandler, Thomas Hutchinson, Oliver 
Patridge, John Worthington — Massachusetts. Theodore Atkinson, Richard 
Wibird, Meshech Weare, Henry Sherburne — New Hampshire. William Pit- 
kin, Roger Wolcott, Elisha Williams — Connecticut. Stephen Hopkins, 
Martin Howard — Rhode Island. John Penn, Benjamin Franklin, Richard 
Peters, Isaac Norris — Pennsylvania. Benjamin Tasker, Benjamin Barnes 
— Maryland. 

1 Manuaoript council minutes. 

2 Messrs Livingston dnd Smith. 



452 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. Nations to the Mohawks ; and therefore lest they should 
xiv. . ' . J 

^~^-> be accused of the same in relation to the governor's 

1754. speech, they tarried until the other castles should have 
arrived before them. The true cause, however, of the 
reluctance displayed by the Indians in coming to this 
treaty, and the fewness of their number was, that the con- 
tinual rebuffs which they had met with in their endea- 
vours to obtain assistance from the colony for the defence 
of their castles, discouraged them from any farther effort 
to obtain redress. The council, held at Onondaga the pre- 
vious year by Colonel Johnson, although it had quieted, 
had not satisfied them. They still felt sore from the impo- 
sition to which they had been subjected in the sales of 
their land. Many of them, — especially the Senecas — were 
absolutely in a starving condition, caused by their having 
abstained, at the request of the English, from their annual 
hunts ;* and numbers of the Onondagas and Cayugas had 
already gone to Oswegatchie and taken up their abode 
at that mission, finding there plenty to eat and ample pro- 
tection under the guns of the fort for themselves and fami- 
lies. Indeed, the wonder is, considering these untoward 
circumstances, that so many of the Confederates were 
present ; and had it not been for the influence of Ilendrik 
— still, through his affection for Colonel Johnson, the fast 
friend of the English, — scarcely any castle of the Six 
Nations would have been represented. 

The first few days were occupied by the commissioners 
in consulting upon the principal topics to be presented 
to the Indians, and in listening to several chiefs of the 
lesser castles in relation to the fraudulent surveys of their 
land. On the twenty-ninth, Mr. De Lancey, — who being 
the only governor present had been called to the chair — 
opened the treaty with a general speech which was inter- 
preted to the Indians by Myndert Schuyler. In his speech, 
the lieutenant governor stated to the Confederates, that 
they had been invited hither to receive the presents sent by 

1 Manuscript council minutes. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 453 

the king, their father, and renew the ancient treaty made chap. 
between all the colonies and their own nation ; and that > — y — • 
all the colonies had united in sending commissioners for 1754- 
this purpose except Virginia and the Carolinas, who 
though detained by the importance of their own affairs at 
home, nevertheless wished to be considered by them as 
present. " We come," he said "to strengthen and brighten 
the chain of friendship," and, continued he, at the same 
time handing Hendrik the chain belt, " this chain hath 
remained firm and unbroken from the beffinnins:. This 
belt will represent to you our disposition to preserve it 
strong and bright, so long as the sun and moon shall 
endure ; and in the name of the great king our father, and in 
behalf of all his majesty's colonies, we now solemnly 
renew, brighten, and strengthen the ancient covenant 
chain, and promise to keep the same inviolable and free 
from rust ; and we expect the like confirmation and assur- 
ance on your part." The scattered manner, in which, 
departing from their ancient custom, the Confederates for 
the last few years had lived, was then adverted to ; and 
they were specially urged to live together in their castles, 
and to call back those of their Onondaga and Cayuga 
brethren who had removed to Oswegatchie in defiance of the 
ancient covenant. " The French profess to be in perfect 
friendship with us as well as you. Notwithstanding this 
they are making continual encroachments upon us both. 
They have lately done so in the most insulting manner, 
both to the northward and westward. Your fathers, by 
their valor above one hundred years ago, gained a consid- 
erable country which they afterwards, of their own accord, 
put under the protection of the kings of Great Britain. 
The French are endeavoring to possess themselves of the 
whole country, although they have made the most express 
treaties with the English to the contrary. It appears to us 
that these measures of the French must necessarily soon 
interrupt and destroy all trade and intercourse between the 
English and the several Indian nations on the continent, 



454 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

char and will block up and obstruct the great roads, which have 
v_^ — i hitherto been open, between you and your allies and 
1754. friends who live at a distance. We want, therefore, to 
know whether these things appear to you in the same 
light as they do to us, or whether the French, taking pos- 
session of the lands in your country, and building forts 
between the lake Erie and the river Ohio, be done with 
your consentor approbation." "Therefore," he concluded, 
"open your hearts to us, and deal with us as brethren. ' y 

Three days afterward, the lieutenant governor attended 
by all the commissioners, in behalf of his majesty and the 
several colonies, met the Indians in the court house to 
hear their reply. As soon as they were seated, the sachems 
of the Six Nations, glittering with ornaments and clothed 
in their richest robes and feathers, came in and seated 
themselves with all the pomp of Indian ceremonial. Then 
amid a deep silence, Abraham, a sachem of the upper cas- 
tle of the Mohawks and a brother of King Hendrik, rose 
and said : — " Brethren, you the governor of New York, 
and the commissioners of the other governments, are you 
ready to hear us ?" The governor having replied in the 
affirmative, King Hendrik, venerable in years, rose and 
with all the dignity which his white hairs and majestic 
mien gave him, holding up the chain belt to the gaze of all, 
advanced a few steps, and thus spoke : 

u Brethren : We return you all our grateful acknowledge- 
ments for renewing and brightening the covenant chain. 
This chain belt is of very great importance to our united 
nations, and all our allies. We will therefore take it to 
Onondaga, where our council fire always burns, and 
keep it — so securely, that neither thunder nor lightning 
shall break it. There will we consult over it; and as we 
have already added two links to it, so we will use our 
endeavors to add as many more links to it as lies in our 
power j 1 * * In the meantime we desire that you will 

1 The allusion is to two small Indian tribes which the Six Nations had 
lately taken into the Confederation. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 455 

strengthen yourselves, and bring as many into this cove- chap. 
nant chain as you possibly can. *— v--" 

" Brethren : As to the accounts you have heard of our 1754 - 
living dispersed from each other, 'tis very true. We have 
several times endeavored to draw off these our brethren 
who were settled at Oswegatchie ; but in vain, for the 
governor of Canada is like a wicked deluding spirit. 
However, as you desire, we shall persist in our endeavors." 
Then burning with indignation, as he recalled the long 
neglect with which his services had been rewarded by the 
English — his eyes flashing, and his whole frame quiveu- 
ing with the honest anger, which had so long been 
pent up within him — he exclaimed " You have asked us 
the reason of our living in this dispersed manner. The 
reason is your neglecting us for three years past." Then 
taking a stick and throwing it behind him — "you have 
thus thrown us behind your backs and disregarded us ; 
whereas the French are a subtile and vigilant people, ever 
using their utmost endeavors to reduce and bring our peo- 
ple over to them. * * * 

" This is the ancient place of treaty, where the fire of 
friendship always used to burn ; and 'tis now three years 
since we have been called to any public treaty here. 'Tis 
true there are commissioners here, but they have never 
invited us to smoke with them. 1 But the Indians of 
Canada come frequently and smoke here, which is for the 
sake of their beaver. But we hate them. "We have 
not as yet confirmed the peace with them. 'Tis your fault, 
brethren, that we are not strengthened by conquest; for 
we would have gone and taken Crown Point, but you hin- 
dered us. We had concluded to go and take it, but we 
were told that it was too late and that the ice would not 
bear us. Instead of this, you burnt your own fort at Sara- 
toga, and ran away from it, which was a shame and a scan- 
dal to you !" Then again kindling as he thought of the 
shameful remissness, which had left their own castles 

1 That is — have never invited us to any conference. 



456 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, defenceless, he concluded in the same scathing latfLeru&ee. 

XIV. ' to to & 

w^ — . "Look about your country, and see, you have no fortifi- 

]7 °" 1 - cations about you ; no, not even to this city ! Look at the 

French ; they are men ; they are fortifying every where ! 

But, we are ashamed to say it, you are all like women, bare 

and open, without any fortifications !" 

Thus closed one of the most eloquent Indian speeches 
ever uttered. A speech, which for its truth, vigor, and 
biting sarcasm, has never been equaled by any Indian 
orator — scarcely excelled by one of any other race — and 
which, " containing strains of eloquence which might have 
done honor to Tully or Demosthenes," 1 will ever stand 
among the finest passages of rhetoric in either ancient or 
modern history. 2 

As soon as Hendrik had ended, his brother Abraham, 
rising up, spoke : 

" Brethren: We w r ould let you know what w T as our 
desire three years ago, when Colonel Johnson laid down 
the management of Indian affairs, which gave us great 
uneasiness. The governor then told us, it was not in his 
power to continue, him but that he would consult the coun- 
cil at New York ; that he was going over to England, and 
promised to reccommend our desire, that Colonel Johnson 
should have the management of Indian affairs, to the king, 
that the governor might have power to reinstate him. We 
long waited in the expectation of this being done; but 
hearing no more of it, we embrace this opportunity of lay- 
ing this belt before all our brethren here present, and 
desire them, that Colonel Johnson may be reinstated 
and have the management of Indian affairs ; for we all 

1 Gentleman 's Magazine ; referring to this speech. 

2 This is not empty panegyric. In a manuscript letter before me written 
by Governor Shirley to Hendrik, through Colonel Johnson, Governor S. 
expresses himself in terms of the wai-mest admiration for Hendrik both as 
an orator and as a man ; thanks him for his speech at Albany ; and promi- 
ses to recommend him to his majesty as the warm friend and fast ally of 
the English. Governor Livingston alluding to this speech also speaks of 
Hendrik as a " consummate orator." — Vide Life of Livingston by Sedgwick, 98. 



LIFE OF SIR AVTLLIAM JOHNSON, BAHT. 457 

lived happy whilst they were under his management, for chap- 
we love him, and he us, and he has always been our good- — ,— ' 
and trusty friend." Then before he sat down, he added 1754, 
with significant irony : — " Brethren: — I forgot something. 
We think our request about Colonel Johnson, which 
Governor Clinton promised to convey to the king our 
father, is drowned in the sea." Then turning himself 
around and facing the New York commissioners for Indian 
affairs, he closed by telling them that the fire at Albany 
was burned out, and requesting* that they would take 
notice of what he said. 

These speeches, as exponents of the state of feeling 
existing among the Confederates, were considered so 
important, as to cause them to be debated, by the com- 
missioners, paragraph by paragraph ; and the same com- 
mittee — which had drafted the opening speech of the 
lieutenant governor upon the nineteenth, was requested to 
prepare a suitable answer to these also. 1 On the third of 
July the draft of the answer was submitted to the board 
of commissioners by Colonel Johnson, as chairman, and 
the answer was submitted to the board of commissioners; 
being approved, it was delivered to the Indians, by Mr. 
De Lancey on the fourth. Its tone was eminently kind 
and conciliatory. In it, the lieutenant governor expressed 
the gratification which it afforded all present, to learn 
of their good intentions, and know that it was not with 
their countenance that the French had entered upon the 
Ohio, and their lands. Some of the information, more- 
over, which they had communicated in their speech, was 
to himself and the commissioners not a little surprising. 
Although, he said, he had known for the past five years, 
of the encroachments of the French, yet it was only lately, 
that he was aware that they had been building forts for the 
protection of themselves and the Indians. " It is fortu- 

x This committee consisted of William Johnson, Samuel Welles, Theo- 
dore Atkinson, Elisha Williams, Martin Howard Jr., Isaac Norris, and 
Benjamin Tasker Jr. 

58 



458 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, riate" he added, " that Mr. Weiser, who transacts the pub- 
- — v — i lie business of Virginia and Pennsylvania with your 
1754 - nations, and is one of your council, and knows these mat- 
ters well, is now present. Hear the account he gives, and 
this will set the matter in a true light." Conrad Weiser 
was here introduced, and a brief sketch of the French 
encroachments on the Ohio, was given by him to the 
Indians. Mr. De Lancey then continued — As to their dis- 
satisfaction at the resignation of Colonel Johnson, he was 
sensible that while he had the management of their affairs 
they all lived happily and contentedly, but as Albany was 
the place where the ancient council fire was kindled, which 
was now almost extinguished, and as Colonel Johnson still 
declined acting, he had thought proper to rekindle the 
fire by appointing commissioners. "These" said he, "I 
shall direct to receive and consult with you upon all busi- 
ness tha"t may concern our mutual interests ; and I expect 
that you will for the future, according to the custom of 
your forefathers, apply to them. I shall give them 
directions that they treat you with the affection due to you 
as brethren. I shall therefore make trial of them another 
year ; and if you do not meet with the kind treatment 
you have a right to expect, complain to this government, 
and effectual measures shall be taken for your satisfaction." 
Mr. Kellogg, the interpreter from Massachusetts Bay, 
then closed the conference for the day, by telling the 
Indians of several forts which the French were erecting 
on the Kenebec and Connecticut rivers, and also of some 
depredations lately committed in the colony of New Hamp- 
shire, by a party of the St. Francis Indians. 

While the congress was sitting, Colonel Johnson, at the 
request of the commissioners, submitted a paper, contain- 
ing his views on the management of the Six Nations, arid 
the best method of defeating the designs of the French 
upon the Confederates. The suggestions were considered 
so judicious, as to lead the congress to vote that Mr. Frank- 
lin should be desired to give the thanks of the board to 



LIFK OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 459 

Colonel Johnson, and request him to allow a copy to be chap. 
taken by the commissioners of each colony for the con- ^-^-^ 
sideration of their respective governments. 1754 - 

The chief measures urged by the colonel were, that gar- 
risons should be established immediately in the most com- 
modious situations among the Six Nations, from which the 
Indians should be supplied with food, until their own lands 
could be so protected as to furnish them with the means 
of subsistence. The French, moreover, obtained much of 
their influence over the Indians by having large stores of 
clothing and other necessaries for them at their different 
forts ; and such kind of encouragement should likewise be 
extended by the English at Oswego, and at any other posts 
or trading houses that might hereafter be built in the Indian 
country. A strict look out at Oswego and at other points 
was recommended, to hinder the French from tampering 
with the Confederates ; and military officers, he thought, 
should reside at each castle, and keep the government well 
advised of every occurrence. The building of a fort, also, 
at the Onondaga castle, properly garrisoned, was strongly 
urged, where should be stationed a missionary and a smith 
to repair their arms and utensils. The colonel, moreover, 
respectfully suggested, that young men well versed in 
grammar should reside among the Onondagas, Senecas and 
Mohawks, in order that they might become good inter- 
preters in every dialect — a thing much needed. Finally 
the Six Nations should be reminded of their promise to 
extend the covenant chain to Detroit unless hindered by 
the French ; consequently, if the latter were removed, 
there would be nothing in the way of the fulfilment of 
their agreement. This, the colonel thought, might " serve 
to show them the early and contrived encroachments of 
the French." These suggestions were considered so val- 
uable, that Mr. De Lancey forwarded a copy of them to 
the board of trade, recommending their adoption. 

Several more days were occupied in hearing and answer- 
ing speeches from the Six Nations, the Schaticook and 



460 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

C xiv P " ^ ver Indians ; and on the eleventh, the Confederates, 
v-v— ' having renewed all their covenants, and sworn uncom- 
1754. promising hostility against the French, were dismissed 
seemingly pleased with the result. 1 

The Indians were not allowed to depart however, until 
the famous purchase from them of the Wyoming lands was 
effected ; — an account of the origin of which, from the 
important bearing of the transaction on future events, 
must not he omitted. 

" The first grants of land in America by the crowm of 
Great Britain, were made with a lavishness which can exist 
only where acquisitions are without cost, and their value 
unknown ; and with a want of provision in regard to 
boundaries, which could result only from entire ignorance 
of the country. The charters of the great western and 
southern Virginia companies, and of the colonies of Mas- 
sachusetts Bay and Connecticut, were of this liberal and 
uncertain character. The charter of the Plymouth com- 
pany covered the expanse from the fortieth to the forty- 
sixth degree of northern latitude, extending from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific ocean." 2 This charter was granted 
by King James L, under the great seal of England, in the 
most ample manner, on the third of November, 1620, to 
the duke of Lenox, the marquise of Buckingham, the earls 
of Arundel and Warwick and their associates, " for the 
planting, ruling, ordering and governing of New England 
in America." The charter of Connecticut was derived 
from the Plymouth company, of which the earl of War- 
wick was president. The grant was made in March, 1621, 
to Viscount Say and Seal, Lord Brook, and their associates. 

1 At this congress, a present from the king was distributed to the Indians, 
" of much greater value than ever before." The commissioners from New 
Hampshire made them a separate present. It is a custom among the Six 
Nations to give a name to their benefactors upon such occasions. The 
name which they gave to the province of New Hampshire was So-Sdguax- 
owdne. I have inquired of the Rev. Mr. Kirkland, the meaning of this 
name. He informed me that So signifies again ; Sagu&x, a dish ; and oivdne 
large." Again a large dish. — Belknap. 

2 Gordon's History of Pennsylvanioa. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 



461 



It was made in the most ample form, and also covered the ch^ap. 
country west of Connecticut to the extent of its breadth, ^— y— > 
being about one degree of latitude from sea to sea. * This t0 " 
grant was confirmed by the king in the course of the same 
year, and again in 1662. New York, or to speak more 
correctly in reference to that period, the New Netherlands, 
being then a Dutch possession, could not be claimed as a 
portion of these munificent grants, if for no other reason, 
for the very good and substantial one, that in the grant to 
the Plymouth company, an exception was made of all such 
portions of the territory as were " then actually possessed 
or inhabitedby any other Christian province or state." But 
the round phraseology of the charters opened the door 
sufficiently wide for any subsequent claims, within the 
specified parallels of latitude, which the company, or its 
accessors, might find it either convenient or politic to inter- 
pose. And it appears that even at the early date of 1651, 
some of the people of Connecticut were already casting 
longing eyes upon a section of the valley of the Delaware. 
It was represented by these enterprising men that they 
had purchased the lands in question from the Indians, but 
that the Dutch had interposed obstacles to their settlement 
thereon. In reply to their petition, the commissioners of 
the united colonies asserted, their right to the jurisdiction 
of the territory claimed upon the Delaware, and the valid- 
ity of the purchases that had been made by individuals. 
" They protested against the conduct of the Dutch, and 
assured the petitioners that though the season was not 
meet for hostilities, yet if within tw r elve months, at their 
own charge, they should transport to the Delaware one 
hundred armed men, with vessels and ammunition approved 
by the magistrates of New Haven, and should be opposed 

1 Trumbull's History of Connecticut. Colonel Timothy Pickering, in his let- 
ter to his son, giving the particulars of the highhanded outrage committed 
upon him in Wyoming in 1788, in speaking of these grants, remarks: — "It 
seems natural to suppose by the terms of these grants, extending to the 
western ocean, that in early times the continent was conceived to be of 
comparatively little breadth." 



462 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, by the Dutch, they should be assisted by as many soldiers 
«— v — - as the commissioners might judge meet; the lands and 
1<54, trade of the settlement being charged with the expense, 
and continuing under the government of New Haven." x 
The project, however, was not pressed during the desig- 
nated period, nor indeed does it seem to have been revived 
for more than a century afterward. Many changes of polit- 
ical and other relations had occurred during this long 
lapse of time. Disputes had arisen between the people of 
Connecticut and the New Netherlands, in regard to bound- 
aries, which had been adjusted by negotiation and com- 
promise. The colony of the New Netherlands had moreover 
fallen, by the fortunes of war, under the sway of the British 
crown. The colonies of New Jersey and Pennsylvania had 
also been planted. Various additional grants had been 
given by the crown, and other questions of territorial lim- 
its had been raised and adjusted. But in none of these 
transactions had Connecticut relinquished her claims of 
jurisdiction, and the preemption right to the lands of the 
Indians lying beyond New York, and north of the fortieth 
degree of latitude, as defined in the original grant to the 
Plymouth company. The grant of the Plymouth com- 
pany to Lord Say and Seal and Lord Brook, had been made 
fifty years before the grant to William Penn, and the con- 
formation of that grant to Connecticut by royal charter, 
nineteen years prior to that conveyance. 2 

Unfortunately, moreover, from the laxity that prevailed 
among the advisers of the crown, in the granting of patents, 
as to boundaries, the patent to William Penn covered a 
portion of the grant to Connecticut, equal to one degree 
of latitude and five of longitude ; and within this territory, 
thus covered by double grants, was situated the section 

1 This quotation is from Gordon. Colonel Pickering, in the letter already 
cited in a preceding note, addressed to his son, and privately printed for 
the use of his own family only, supposed that Connecticut did not set up 
any formal claim to lands west of New York and New Jersey, until just 
prior to the revolution. He was in error. 

a Trumbull. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BAIIT. 463 

of the Delaware county heretofore spoken of; as also the chap. 
yet richer and more inviting valley of Wyoming, toward v_ v ~' 
which some of the more restless, if not enterprising sons 1 ' 54 - 
of the Pilgrims were already turning their eyes with impa- 
tience. 

The project of establishing a colony in "Wyoming was 
started by sundry individuals in Connecticut in 1753, 
during which year an association was formed for that pur- 
pose called the Susquehanna company, and a number of 
agents were commissioned to proceed thither, explore the 
country, and conciliate the good will of the Indians. This 
commission was executed; and as the valley, though at 
that time in the occupancy of the Delawares, was claimed 
by the Six Nations, a purchase from that Confederacy was 
determined upon. To this end, a deputation of the com- 
pany, the associates of which already numberd about six 
hundred persons, embracing many gentlemen of wealth 
and character, was directed to repair to this present con- 
gress at Albany, and if possible effect the purchase. 
Their movements were not invested with secresy, and 
James Hamilton, the governor of Pennsylvania, becoming 
acquainted with them, was not slow in interposing objec- 
tions to the procedure — claiming the lands as falling within 
the charter of Penn, and of course belonging, the preemp- 
tive right at least, to the proprietaries for whom he was 
administering the government. Hamilton wrote to Go- 
vernor Wolcott upon the subject, protesting strongly against 
the designs of the company. To this letter Wolcott replied, 
that the projectors of the enterprise supposed the lands in 
question were not comprised within the grants of William 
Penn ; but should it appear that they were, the governor 
thought there would be no disposition to quarrel upon the 
subject. Governor Hamilton also addressed Colonel John- 
son in relation to the matter, praying his interposition to 
prevent the Six Nations from making any sales to the 
agents of the Connecticut company, should they appear at 
Albany for that purpose. 



464 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap. But these precautionary measures on the part of G overnor 
v.^!, Hamilton did not defeat the object of the Connecticut com- 
1754 - pany, although the Pennsylvania delegates were especially 
instructed to that end before leaving home for Albany. 
A purchase was made by the Connecticut agents or dele- 
gates, through Lydius, of a tract of land extending about 
seventy miles north and south, and from a parallel line ten 
miles east of the Susquehanna, westward two degrees of 
longitude. l This purchase included the whole valley of 
"Wyoming, and the country westward to the sources of the 
Allegany. 2 The Pennsylvania delegates did all in their 
pow r er to circumvent the agents of the Susquehanna com- 
pany, holding several private councils with the chiefs of 
the Six Nations, and endeavoring to purchase the same 
lands themselves. In the course of their consultations, 
Hendrik, thinking that some reflections had been cast upon 
his character, became excited and declared that neither 
of the parties should have the land. But the Connecticut 
agents succeeded, as already stated, and the Pennsylvanians 
also effected the purchase of " a tract of land between the 
Blue mountain and the forks of the Susquehanna river; — 
purchases which were to involve Pennsylvania in a long 
and savage war, in which the blood of her best settlers 
flowed like water. Strong efforts were subsequently made 
by the Pennsylvanians, aided by the influence of Colonel 
Johnson, to induce the Indians to revoke the sale to the 
Susquehanna company, and Hendrik was induced by the 
colonel to make a visit to Philadelphia upon that business 
And in justice to the Pennsylvanians it must be allowed 
that they always protested against the legality of this pur- 
chase by their rivals — alleging truly that the bargain was 

i Trumbull. 

2 Chapman. Another association was subsequently formed in Connecticut 
called the Delaware company, which purchased the land of the Indians east 
of the Wyoming tract, to the Delaware river. This company began a set- 
tlement on the Delaware at a place called Coshutunk in 1757, which was 
the first settlement founded by the people of Connecticut within the terri- 
tory claimed by them west of New York. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART, 465 

not made in open council ; that it was the work of a few of c "ap. 
the chiefs only; and that several of them were in a state v-^ — - 
of intoxication when they signed the deed of conveyance. 11754 - 

During the session of the congress, at the suggestion of 
the Massachusetts commissioners, the plan for a general 
federal union was taken into consideration. A committee, 
consisting of a delegate from each of the colonies repre- 
sented, was appointed to draft plans for this object; 2 and 
the subject was debated "hand in hand with the Indian 
business daily, for twelve consecutive days." 3 Finally, 
after several different plans had been submitted to the 
board and debated, the one drawn by Franklin — the chief 
heads of which had been prepared by him before he left 
home, was adopted. Every member of the council ap- 
proved of the plan except Mr. De Lancey, "and he made 
no great opposition." 4 The plan, in many of its features, 
was similar to the federal constitution, which its author 
assisted in framing many years afterward. It proposed 
first, that application should be made to parliament for an 
act to establish a general government in America, which 
was to consist of a president general, to be supported by 
the crown, and a grand council of forty-eight members, 

1 Gordon. In this opinion Gordon is supported by Colonel Pickering, 
who remarks : — These purchases were not made, I am well satisfied, at any 
public council, or open treaties of the Indians to whom they belonged, but 
of little knots of inferior and unauthorized chiefs, indifferent about the 
consequences, provided they received some present gratification, if com- 
paratively of little value. 

2 This committee was composed of Franklin of Pennsylvania, Tasker of 
Maryland, Smith of New York, Hutchinson of Massachusetts, Atcbinson 
of New Hampshire, Pitkin of Connecticut, and Hopkins of Rhode Island — 
all distinguished men. 

3 Franklin. 

* Smith. See also Governor Livingston Mass. His. Col. viii, 77. Author- 
ities, I am aware, differ on this point of unanimity. Franklin and Hutch- 
inson say the plan was unanimously agreed upon, and Trumbull directly 
affirms the contrary. The balance of authority however, serves to sustain 
the view taken in the text. 

59 



466 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, who were to be chosen by the different colonial assemblies. 1 
v_^ — . The number of members from each colony was to be never 
1754. m0 re than seven, nor less than two; and was to be "in 
proportion to the sums paid by each colony into the general 
treasury." To the grand council was to be committed the 
entire management of all civil and military affaire. The 
president general was to have a veto power on every act 
of the council, and in him was to be lodged the whole 
executive authority. To him also was given " the appoint- 
ment, with the advice of the council, of all military offi- 
cers, and the entire management of Indian affairs." The 
president and council together might declare war against 
the Indians, or make peace with them ; conclude treaties ; 
buy lands either in the name of the crown or the union ; 
raise troops ; build forts ; and in short do everything for 
the general defence and welfare of the colonies. The seat 
of this government was to be located in Philadelphia, 
which, it was supposed, might possibly be reached from 
either South Carolina or New Hampshire in fifteen or 
twenty days ! 

This plan was not adopted. The several assemblies 
deeming it too much of an encroachment upon the liberties 
of the people, refused their assent. The parent govern- 
ment, equally jealous of the prerogative, rejected it on the 
ground that it favored the democratic at the expense of 
the aristocratic element ; and the colonial governors, " too 
inconsiderable to hope for so illustrious a seat as the presi- 
dent's, could not brook the exaltation of private citizens 
to stations in the grand council, inflating their vanity, and 
enabling them not only to traverse their interests at court, 

1 The assemblies were to choose the members for the grand council in the 
following proportion : 

Massachusetts 7 Pennsylvania 6 

New Hampshire 2 Maryland , 4 

Connecticut 5 Virginia , 7 

R,hode Island 2 North Carolina 4 

New York 4 South Carolina 4 

New Jersey 3 — — 

Total, 48 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 467 

but lessen their authority." • The plan, therefore, meeting ch^ap. 
with coldness from both the crown and the colonists, fell v— ^— * 
through ; yet not until it had proved the leaven, which, 1754 - 
working for many years, prepared the minds of the people 
to receive with alacrity a similar federal constitution, thirty- 
three years afterwards. 

Thus closed the labors of the most august assemblage 
that had ever yet been convened upon the American con- 
tinent. Composed of men distinguished in the walks of 
science, statesmanship and philanthropy, it commanded 
attention alike from the humblest of the people to the 
highest dignitary of the crown. Though in some respects 
it was a political failure, yet it stands another link in the 
chain of events which were rapidly hastening the colonies 
into the maintenance of an independent existence, 2 

Scarcely had the last commissioner departed from Albany, 
when the whole frontier from the meadows of the Ohio to 
the forests of Maine, became alive with savage hordes let 
loose upon the settlements by the French. Intimations 
of this however, had been received through the mouths 
of Indian runners in the spring. As soon as hostilities 
had fairly begun on the frontiers of Pennsylvania, reports 
came that a fort had been erected on the head waters of 
the Kennebec by the French. Immediately on the receipt 
of this news, Governor Shirley, at the suggestion of Din- 
widdie, 3 proceeded up that river with five hundred men to 
Tacconet falls where he built Fort Halifax. Having 
explored the country above Nimdynock without discover- 
ing any signs of the enemy, Governor Shirley built Fort 
"Western at Cushenoc, and leaving a sufficient number of 
men to garrison the forts, returned to Boston to find the 
enemy almost at the very gates of that city. 

The storm which had been so Ions; gathering* had indeed 

burst with all its fury upon the colonies. On the twenty- 

i 

i Smith. 

2 For a full account of this congress, see Mass. His. Col. v, 3d series. 

3 Governor Dinwiddie to Lieutenant Governor De Lancey. 



468 LIFE OF Sift WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

chap, eighth of May a body of one hundred Schaghticoke 
v— v — 'Indians fell upon Dutch Hoosick, about ten miles west of 
1754. JT or t Massachusetts, and attacking some men at a mill on 
the borders of the town, killed one and wounded another. 
Seemingly infuriated by the sight of blood, they next 
rushed into the settlement — firing houses, barns and stacks 
of grain, and killing large numbers of cattle. On the fol- 
lowing day they burned the little village of Coick, but as 
most of the inhabitants had fortunately taken the alarm 
and fied the day previous, the loss of life was not great. 1 
The villagers presented a lamentable spectacle as they 
came the next day into Albany, some half naked, others 
with one or two articles of household goods — all that they 
had been able to secure in their sudden flight — and all 
foot-sore and weary. The sight, says an eye-witness, was 
pitiable in the extreme. 2 The garrison of Fort Massachu- 
setts being too weak to furnish efficient aid, a party of 
militia immediately left Albany for the scene of devastation ; 
but the Indians escaped into the woods, whither the militia 
dared not follow. 3 Hardly had the yells of the savages 
died away, when, as if to add intensity to these horrors, 
intelligence came that the tomahawk was doing its bloody 
work upon the borders of New Hampshire. On the 
fifteenth of August, the Indians made their first appearance 
at Bakerstown, killing a woman, and capturing several 
others. A few days afterwards they surprised the house 
of James Johnson at Number Four, in the night, and 
rousing his family from their slumbers, conveyed him, his 
Wife and six others to Crown Point, and thence into Canada. 3 
Finding the enemy intent upon slaughter, Governor 
Shirley at once took active measures for the defence of the 
Massachusetts frontier. Colonel Israel Williams, who had 

1 Hoyt's Indian Wars. 

2 Letter from the Indian commissioners at Albany to Lieut. Gov. De Lan- 
cey. 

3 In this raid 14 houses, 28 barns, and 28 barracks of wheat were 
destroyed. — Statement of Captain Chapin, then in command of Fort Mas- 
sachusetts. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 469 

proved himself such an efficient officer in the last war, was c *™p. 
again called to the defence of the western border. That' — , — < 
officer, having in his previous service become thoroughly 
conversant with the topography of the country, submitted 
to Shirley a sketch of the land, — together with a plan for 
a vigorous prosecution of the war. lie proposed that those 
forts which had afforded little or no protection heretofore 
to the borderers should be given up, and in their place, a 
line of small fortifications should be erected through the 
valley of Charlemont ; Forts Dummer and Massachusetts 
were to be strengthened and supplied with light cannon, 
and with two additional forts to the westward, were to form 
a chain of forts connecting with the line of fortifications 
in New York 1 Having seen, also, the advantage which 
the Indians, by their system of warfare, had always pos- 
sessed over the whites, Colonel Williams now proposed to 
meet them with their own weapons and upon their own 
ground. For this purpose, bodies of rangers well skilled 
in woodcraft and in bush fighting, were to be selected and 
kept constantly traversing the wilderness, 2 keeping at the 
same time a sharp look out upon the routes to and from 
Crown Point. 3 The plan of Colonel Williams was laid by 
Governor Shirley before the general court, and its main 
features were adopted. A body of rangers, such as the 
colonel had recommended, was also raised and stationed 
on the western frontier under his command. At the same 
time troops were raised for the defence of the north-western 
quarter of the province, in the counties of Worcester and 
Hampshire, and Captain Ephraim Williams appointed to 
the command, with the rank of major. 4 

While these vigorous measures for the defence of Mas- 
sachusetts were being pushed forward by Governor Shirley, 
the lieutenant governor of New York was not idle. As 

1 Hoyt's Indian Wars. 

2 The present state of Vermont. 

3 Hoyt's Indian Wars. 

4 Idem. 



470 LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART, 

chap, soon as the latter received intelligence of the destruction 
- — v — i of Hoosick, he sent orders to the authorities of Albany to 
1754. re p a i r -the stockades around that city, and put the block 
houses in a suitable condition for defence. Simultaneously, 
by his orders, the only company remaining in New York 
— the two independent companies having sailed for Vir- 
ginia — marched to Albany — a sergeant and a few invalids 
only being left in the city to garrison the fort. 

While these measures were in progress to guard Albany 
against surprise, rumors reached Colonel Johnson from the 
north, that the French were meditating a descent upon the 
lower settlements of the colony, and that a large force in 
advance of the main body had already begun their march. 1 
Although these reports were not credited by the colonel,, 
yet he did not think it prudent to relax the preparations 
which he had already begun, shortly after the burning of 
Hoosick, for putting the frontier towns in a posture of 
defence. Measures were therefore immediately taken by 
him for placing the militia of the province in a condition 
to render efficient service. Acting with this object, he 
wrote at once to the captains of the several companies 
within his district, ordering them to have their men in 
readiness to march at a moment's warning. 2 At the same 
time, he directed the commanding officer at Schenectady 
to see that all the companies stationed there were instantly 
equipped and provided with proper arms and ammunition. 
The officer was further ordered to keep a strict watch by 
night and by day, and to report to him the state of the 
block houses. 3 Considerable difficulty having arisen 
between the militia and the regulars stationed at Schenec- 
tady, the colonel in these same orders thought proper to 
add : — " the guard must be regular, and not allowed to com- 

1 Manuscript orders of Colonel Johnson to the captains of the diiFerent 
companies within his district. 

2 Idem. 

3 Manuscript letter ; Johnson to Captain Jacobus Van Slyck, the command- 
ing officer at Schenectady, Aug. 30th, 1754. 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 471 

mit any indecency, or give any insults to the king's gar- chap. 

rison." > — v — - 

1754. 

Meanwhile the general assembly was convened by the 
lieutenant governor on the twentieth of August. His rea- 
son for convening it at such an unusual season of the year 
was given in the opening message. It was, he said, to 
inform them of Colonel Washington's defeat upon the 
east side of the Ohio, within the undoubted limits of his 
majesty's dominions ; and as it was plain that the king's 
lands had now been invaded, there was therefore no excuse 
for not voting their promised aid to Virginia, which they 
had refused at the last session. The defenceless condition 
of Albany was then pointed out, and the consequent neces- 
sity for erecting a fort upon Hudson river for its protec- 
tion ; equally necessary, he continued, in view of the 
importance of the Six Nations as allies, was the erection 
of a fort in the Seneca's country, where a smith could 
permanently reside. As the Confederates, moreover, at the 
last congress, had complained of the pernicious effect of 
the sale of rum amongst them, he urged a more stringent 
act to prevent its sale to the Indians, as the one formerly 
passed for that purpose had proved totally ineffectual. A 
stronger militia act, for the formation into companies of 
those able to bear arms, yet exempt from military duty by 
law, was advised ; and also that a quantity of arms and 
accoutrements should be provided at New York and at 
Albany, to be on hand in case of any emergency. Direct- 
ing his remarks more particularly to the house, he inform- 
ed it of the plan of union which had been unanimously 
agreed to by the commissioners at Albany, which he con- 
cluded, " I shall now order to be laid before you." 

The answer of the house was of the same general tenor 
as its reply to the lieutenant governor's message at the 
preceding session — full of quibbles in justification of its 
refusal to grant the desired aid. While it deemed it 
the reciprocal duty of the colonies to assist each other, yet 
"these principles," said the house, "your honor will not 



LIFE OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART. 

c |™ p - extend to an unlimited sense;" there may be instances 
v-vw where the particular colonies which are invaded, ought 
1754 - to exert their own strength and " not call too loudly upon 
others more exposed than themselves ;" — yet such, it said, 
was the condition of the colony of New York, burdened 
with taxes, and threatened by the enemy at their very 
doors. " The other colonies," it continued, " make them- 
selves strong and defensible by settling in townships, or 
some other close order, while our frontier lands are 
granted away in patents, almost without bounds or num- 
ber, regardless of settlements or the public welfare." 

"Would any man," says Mr. Smith, alluding to this 
answer of the assembly, " would any man without doors, 
and not in the secret, believe what is a fact, that they had 
already, that very morning, voted a gift of five thousand 
pounds to their fellow subjects in Pennsylvania and Vir- 
ginia?" Yet such was the fact. By granting the aid to 
Virginia and Pennsylvania, the ministry were humored ; 
while by doing it with seeming reluctance, the parsimoni- 
ous spirit of the people was gratified and suspicions of a 
sacrifice of the colony's interests to the De Lancey faction, 
prevented. 1 Nothing worthy of speci